Feel the beat: deaf fans fight for access to live music

The myth that deafness impedes appreciation of music is gradually being debunked – and new technology is helping. But marginalised deaf fans say attitudes are still a huge problem

Growing up among the reggae soundsystems and pirate radio stations of 1980s Hackney, Troi Lee was surrounded by music, “speakers on the street corners blaring”. After getting a Walkman for his 14th birthday, he would wander through his neighbourhood playing songs by Public Enemy on repeat: “It was pure joy,” he says. This passion led Lee to follow in the footsteps of his cousin John and become a DJ. It’s a common enough path – except that Lee was born severely deaf.

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