Soundtrack of Silence

48 min
When Matt Hay learned he would go deaf in his 20s, he memorized a soundtrack of his life to help capture the memories attached to those songs - like the first time he fell in love. And when doctors said a device could help him return to the world of sound, he used those same songs to help him, using the positive feelings that the music inspired to fire up his brain to hear. (Mark Fiore/KQED)

Matt Hay is a sophomore in college when he finds out he is going to lose his hearing. He coasts through the early years of his diagnosis in denial, but as his hearing aids get bigger and bigger, Matt realizes he wants to capture the sounds that are slipping away: his girlfriend's voice, the click of her heels; and especially, the songs of their invincible youth.

Matt starts listening to music with a new appreciation — truly studying it, as he curates the soundtrack for the rest of his life. Behind each song, there is a coming-of-age story about freedom, tragedy, and falling in love. When Matt’s hearing eventually fades to nothing, the silent soundtrack in his head takes on a role he never imagines.

Hear KQED's entire Soundtrack of Silence episode now by clicking the play button above.

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