The app allows you to control five different channels CREDIT: BBC

 

We have so much to thank Elton John for: His musical catalogue, the The Lion King soundtrack, that weird William Shatner cover of “Rocket Man”–the list could go on. And now we’re adding something new, something unexpected. We can be thankful to Elton John for helping people with hearing loss better enjoy live music.

This makes Jeri, an Elton John fan in her late 60s, incredibly happy. She’s wanted to see the crooner in concert for years now, but she always feared her hearing loss would diminish the impact of the experience. Thanks to the singer himself, in conjunction with a team of specialists and a custom device, Jeri won’t miss a beat.

How to Have A Custom Elton John Concert Experience

Elton John has been making music professionally and releasing albums for nearly fifty years. Sure, he’s not hurting for new, younger admirers–but he’s also enjoyed support from dedicated fans who have been with him from the start. As with many musicians in their 70s, Elton John has a fairly large aging fanbase.

In an effort to accommodate those lifelong fans–many of whom have developed age-related hearing loss over the years–the singer-songwriter and his staff developed a specialized device to hear the concert better. It’s ridiculously simple:

  • When you arrive at the venue, you rent or check out the device.
  • You place the device around your ears (they look kind of like fancy, expensive headphones that wrap around the back of your neck)
  • During the show, you use a custom app to control the levels of specific sound channels: guitar, vocals, drums, keyboard, and bass.
  • Once the show is over, you return the device to the venue.

The interface itself is quite easy to use and understand, and it’s fully adjustable throughout the experience. You don’t have to lock in settings–you can change them minute by minute if you want (whatever helps you best enjoy “Yellow Brick Road”).

Why This Hearing Device Will Help You Enjoy Concerts

First and foremost, we should point out that people with hearing loss can and do already enjoy concerts, shows, and live entertainment. These are all very social, very human activities.

However, until this device was introduced, there were few great options for introducing accessibility into the average night out. The ability to easily control levels of live music is a huge step in the right direction because hearing loss often develops asymmetrically. Jeri, for example, has an especially hard time hearing low-frequency sounds.

Filling the Gaps in Your Hearing

For Jeri, “low-frequency sounds” often means she has a hard time hearing voices. She can hear the rest of the audio spectrum relatively fine, so when she goes to see Elton John, she’ll be able to mix accordingly: turning up the volume on the vocals and turning down the volume on the rest of the music.

Providing those who are hard of hearing with the ability to adjust what they hear means they can find the right mix for the “holes” in their hearing. If the bass is aggravating your tinnitus, take it down a notch with the slider. If the keyboard seems to drown out everything else, make an adjustment.

This can make concert-going a much more enjoyable process for anyone with hearing loss.

Elton John in Concert… and Beyond!

So, yes, it’s wonderful that Elton John fans will get to experience a fantastic concert. But what’s more important is that this technology, once widely adopted, will provide the same opportunity to countless people (no matter what kind of music they like).

If you love Elton John and you have hearing loss, like Jeri, this news is probably incredibly exciting for you. But even if you like Fleetwood Mac or Justin Timberlake (or whatever the kids are listening to these days…) you can look forward to the day where your hearing loss won’t get in the way of the full concert experience.

The next generation of people with hearing loss will have a much better experience. And you know what that is? That, my friends… is the circle of life.

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