Lost and Sound

‘Lost and Sound’. An incredibly touching insight into the adaptive power of the brain and impact technological advances can have in the lives of three individuals.

Don’t get me wrong, but deafness has always fascinated me. I’ll have these internal arguments every now and then on whether I’d give up sight or sound, if I had to give up one; I usually settle on sound. My crude view equated deafness to hearing nothing. I don’t know if it’s simply the three particular individuals in this film, or the advent of the Cochlear implant, but it is indeed not as clear cut as everything or nothing. There’s a phrase in the film about a mother realising the difference between simply “hearing” and “listening”, and this crystallised things.

Then there’s the brain. As described in the film, the ears simply provide a portal for the electrical impulses in your brain to interpret the rhythm, timbre, beat, etc of music, and turn it into that something that is deeply profound to all of us. The incredible, taken-for-granted effect music has in the life of every human being is exemplified further with the very music-oriented stars of the film.

There’s a particularly jarring scene that illustrates how a Beethoven piece sounds to someone that’s lost their hearing in one ear. It’s very simple in its demonstration, yet so powerful in clearly showing the difference, and boy, what a difference it is. The use of sounds and visualisations in ‘Lost and Sound’ really helped convey the words and science in an effective manner.

The adaptive power of the brain in the varying circumstances of the three individuals the documentary focuses on was mind-blowing. You know how Daredevil’s [Matt Murdock] other senses are heightened as a result of him going blind? That damn well happens! The magic of the brain in rewiring itself to compensate for expected inputs and the perennial predictability it is looking for was fascinating to learn and watch!

Ultimately, neuroscience and the assistive technology is really helping improve the lives of people with varying degrees of deafness, and ‘Lost and Sound’ is a most basic human struggle at its core. There are lovely moments of humour, intimacy and pure emotional joy. One moment [I’m sure it happened several times for lots of others in the audience, judging by the sniffling I heard throughout] in particular produced a huge, sudden surge of emotion, and I certainly knew when I felt it that the film had done something magical.



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