Trish Adams lives in Melbourne, Australia. It’s a big city that’s full of noise. The noises she encounters on a typical day range from loud, low-pitched traffic and construction sounds to high-pitched sirens, horns, music or whistles. The constant cacophony might distract anyone, but Adams wears hearing aids. And while they amplify the quiet voices she needs to hear, they also intensify that distracting—and, for her, sometimes painful—background noise. At the same time, Adams might miss out entirely on what someone says to her because of everything else she’s hearing.
Now others can witness both the absence and assault of sound experienced by Adams—or others with hearing impairments—through a multimedia art exhibit she created called “Disconnections.” The artist didn’t rely solely on her personal encounters, but worked with a psychologist and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology’s Creative interventions, Art and Rehabilitative Technology lab to create two multi-sensory video works.
Amanda Kolson Hurley recently wrote about Adams and her video installation for an article in The Atlantic’s CityLab. Hurley also interviews audiologist Anne Oyler, associate director of ASHA audiology professional practices, for the article. Oyler discusses the growing prevalence of people with hearing impairments and how sound often becomes distorted, not just muffled, “so no matter how loud we make [a sound], it would never be as crystal-clear as it was before.”
Enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at how—and why—Adams created her video installations:
More from The Leader on treating and diagnosing on hearing impairments: