Members area



Don't have a login?

Join us

Become a member

  • Connect with others through events, workshops, campaigns and our NEW online forum, Your Community
  • Discover information and insights in our resource hub and receive the latest updates via email
  • Access one-to-one support and tailored services which help reduce barriers for deaf children
Menu Open mobile desktop menu

Hearing technology and music

Hearing aids amplify sounds, making them audible to the wearer. They are programmed to amplify quieter sounds so that what the wearer hears always remains within their comfortable range.

Children with severe to profound deafness, who are unable to hear the full range of speech sounds with hearing aids, may instead use cochlear implants. A cochlear implant includes an internal receiver and electrode package which is surgically placed in the inner ear, and an external speech processor worn behind the ear. The speech processor converts sound into an electrical impulse which stimulates the nerves in the inner ear.

If you’re working with a child who uses hearing aids or a cochlear implant, there are a few things to consider.

Speech versus music

Both modern hearing aids and cochlear implants are programmed primarily to make speech clearer. Speech and music have many differences including intensity, different frequencies, and frequency emphasis.

Musical instruments typically have a much greater dynamic range and frequency range than speech. This means that hearing aids and cochlear implants do not reproduce music exactly, and that a deaf person may not experience music in the same way as a hearing person.

Single source of sound

A single talker, singer or instrument is often easier for hearing aid or cochlear implant wearers to follow. Due to the limitations of hearing devices, it is more difficult for wearers to follow multiple instruments.

Multiple program capability

Modern hearing aids have multiple program capability and it is possible to add a program for music which alters the gain and output of the hearing aid, ensuring the volume of the device remains comfortable and therefore improving the listener’s experience of music.

You could suggest that parents contact their child’s audiologist or Teacher of the Deaf for further information about using a music program on their hearing aid, technology or both to support them in enjoying music.

Assistive devices

There are also lots of assistive devices which can potentially be used with hearing aids and cochlear implants to enhance a child's enjoyment of music. These include wireless devices, including ear hooks, neckloops, Bluetooth streamers, and direct audio input devices that bring the music direct to the hearing aid and help reduce problems caused by distance and background noise.

Find out more information about hearing technology.

DJing and music technology

DJing and music technology have become increasingly popular over the last decade. If a deaf child or young person expresses an interest in DJing, there are a few things you can do to make it accessible for them. Such as, giving them the opportunity to use headphones or adapters to connect to their hearing technology as well as the speakers, so that they can still be part of the group without background noise.

There are organisations, such as Deaf Rave, that are working to make music accessible and inclusive for D/deaf and disabled people.


Lots of deaf musicians and DJs will use technology, such as a SUBPAC, to feel the vibrations of the music. Encourage deaf children or young people you're working with to put their hands on the speakers to feel the vibrations from the beat of the music. Some children may be nervous about whether it is safe to do so, so clarify where it is safe to touch prior to the activity.

Visual technology

As well as using the vibrations to feel the music, many deaf DJs prefer to use software that is designed to be visual such as ‘Serato Scratch Live’ rather than using old style mixers.

Lots of music technology software will have this visual element – particularly around programming rhythms where the act of pressing the keys on a keyboard or drum machine will create a sound as well as a pattern on the screen – enabling the rhythm or musical sequence to be both seen and heard.

You can also consider using music technology that incorporates visual feedback elements with lights on a grid, for example Novation’s Launchpad or Yamaha’s Tenori-on.