Season 16 of The Voice has a winner, and her story might surprise you. Marlyn Jarmon, 26 of Frisco, TX blew everyone away with her performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” at the season finale. But her heavenly voice and pitch is even more spectacular when you consider that Marlyn is hearing impaired.
Chronic ear infections as a child left her eardrums damaged. She has no hearing in her right ear and only 80% in the left. To be successful as a singer, Marlyn would have much to overcome.
Chicago ENT audiologist Samantha Dixon explains, “people with single-sided hearing loss have difficulty interpreting sounds. They perceive sounds as quieter than normal hearing people. Plus they have problems hearing through background noise and trouble identifying where sounds are coming from. For a singer, there are typically crowds and instrumentation to further compound things.”
In fact, Maelyn reported that there were times when she “couldn’t hear anything” while she was on the show. She recently explained, “Sometimes when I haven’t been able to hear myself, which has happened during my career, I go based on feeling, rather than what I’m hearing. That was something that I could tap into, so I do really feel like it can be a superpower. I go off of vibrations a lot of the time and I really pay attention to those. I can tell a key based on the way it vibrates, so I think that helps me with pitch as well….a lot of artists plug their ear to hear themselves better, and it’s kind of like I’m doing that all the time!”
“Not only is it remarkable to sing the way she does, but to do so alongside the challenges of hearing loss,” says Dr. Brittany Beeg, audiologist at Chicago ENT. The fact that Maelyn can sing with perfect pitch given the difficulty with hearing shows she is truly gifted.”
Approximately 15% of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing. See an audiologist to have your hearing tested if you answer “yes” to more than two of the following questions:
Do you have a problem hearing over the telephone?
Do you hear better in one ear than the other when you are on the phone?
Do you have trouble understanding when two or more people talk at the same time?
Do people complain that you turn the TV volume up too high?
Do you have to strain to understand what people say?
Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy place?
Do you have trouble hearing in restaurants?
Do you have dizziness, pain, or ringing in your ears?
Do you ask people to repeat what they said?
Do family members or coworkers tell you that you are not hearing what they say?
Do many people you talk to seem to mumble or not speak clearly?
Do you have trouble understanding women and children?
Do people get annoyed because you don’t understand what they say?
Chicago ENT offers hearing evaluation and treatment. Call us at 773-296-5500.