Jamie Ivers: How the Bass Egg helps deaf children see, feel and hear music

Posted on July 20, 2017

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All the children in the room smiled and laughed excitedly as they placed their hands on the black box with the strange device sitting on it, as it was allowing them to experience sound as they never had before.

Over the past two years, a portable speaker company called Bass Egg has been working with the Blossom Montessori School for the Deaf, in Clearwater, Florida, to give their students a fantastic new experience. The Bass Egg has allowed the children to see, feel and, for some, actually hear music.

In November of 2016, the Bass Egg team traveled to the Blossom Montessori School to show its students what the speaker is capable of.

Students from the Blossom Montessori School for the Deaf using the Bass Egg

The team first shared some videos and educated the students about how the Bass Egg works and what it can do for the deaf community. The students were then led over to a wooden box on which the Bass Egg sat.

The students stood in a circle and placed their hands on the box with heavy anticipation. When the Bass Egg was turned on and music began to play, the children were confounded by the vibrations they were able to feel through the surface.

They even sang along to Frozen’s “Let it Go” together. One of the ways they were able to see the music was when beads were placed on the surface.

The vibrations that the Bass Egg sent into the surface brought the beads to life, causing them to “dance.” This absolutely fascinated the students. One boy even gasped in awe and looked under the table in disbelief that the Bass Egg could really be creating such a powerful sound experience through the box.

Another student, a 5-year-old girl named Abbi, had an experience that was particularly inspiring. Abbi is completely deaf and was not wearing her cochlear implants at the time. Yet, as she placed her hands on the surface of the box, she was able to tap along to the beat of the song without missing a beat. She was truly enjoying the music.

As many of us are already aware, people who have a disability to one or more senses often develop the ability to use their other senses to a greater extent than the average person.

Often times, when deaf people listen to music, they turn the volume up high so that they are able to feel the bass. They are able to recognize instruments, pitch, and rhythm all from feeling the bass. Some have even dedicated their vocation to music by producing, singing, and playing instruments. And the Bass Egg can be used as a tool to help enhance this.

Unlike other speakers, the Bass Egg has no speaker cone. In normal speakers, the speaker cones are what generate air disturbances which we interpret as sound. Instead, the Bass Egg sends vibrations into the object it is set upon. This surface acts as the “speaker cone” which vibrates and creates the air disturbances that allow the deaf and hard of hearing to be able to experience sound. It could be considered an enormous hearing aid.

It is also able to produce impressive volume at levels above 100 decibels. The Bass Egg works well on hard, resonate surfaces such as wood, glass, drywall, fiberglass, metal and plastic. The bigger the surface, the bigger the sound becomes.

There are roughly 95 schools for the deaf in the United States. Bass Egg’s goal is to expand their charity work by visiting and developing relationships with each and every one of these schools.

They want to take the enlivening experience they have created at the Montessori School, and spread it to deaf children nationwide. Bass Egg believes that the inability to hear should not be a limiting factor to experiencing music. The company aims to share the gift of sound with as many people as possible through the Bass Egg experience.

You can find out more information on Bass Egg’s website at www.bassegg.com

The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.

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