Deaf students in the Dominican Republic have been given the opportunity to ‘hear’ whale song for the first time thanks to an innovative education project.
Using technology developed for music producers in the US, Maria Batlle, founder of Muse Seek (an education enterprise) has enabled students from the National School for the Deaf in Santo Domingo to experience the underwater chorus created during the annual migration of several thousand humpbacks from the northern Gulf of Maine to the Dominican coast.
Once onboard a whale watching vessel, the students pull on special, high-tech backpacks that turn whale songs into vibrations. As the humpbacks appeared before them recordings of the whale’s melodies, taken on previous trips, were played allowing the deaf and hard of hearing passengers to experience both the sight and sound of these majestic creatures for the first time.
Those wearing the packs used their hands to express the thumps, pings and gentle massage they felt on their skin as the whale song played.