Inside Mormon Music: Justin Osmond finds a way despite hearing loss

Published: Friday, Jan. 21 2011 7:00 a.m. MST

“When there’s a will, there’s always a way,” says Justin Osmond.

Osmond doesn’t just say that; he means it. He is living proof we can do great things no matter what challenges we face.

Born with 90-percent hearing loss in both of his ears, Osmond has had to work extra hard to find his way.

“My mother would wake me up every morning at 6 a.m. and work with me for countless hours on my speech therapy," Osmond said. “After many years of intense speech, listening and comprehension therapy I am able to speak with passion and hear with conviction.”

Justin is the son of Merrill Osmond, the lead singer of the Osmonds. Being born with a hearing loss into a family that’s world renown as musicians has created its own unique set of challenges.

“I remember going to my dad’s concerts while growing up and having a difficult time understanding the lyrics to my own dad’s music," Osmond said. "It took me a long time to finally understand all the lyrics. To this day, I'm still learning the lyrics to my dad's songs."

Osmond faced a tough road as he worked to be musically inclined. Still, he found solutions that worked for him to learn to play the violin, piano, viola and drums.

“My parents inspired and motivated me to play music," Osmond said. "Even though I don’t have perfect intonation when listening and playing music, it didn’t stop me. I (found) ways around the challenges and stumbling blocks that (could have prevented) me from playing instruments that I love.

“With the violin, I learned to use it as a bone conductor and instead of listening with my ears, I would hear the music through the vibrations of the violin as it creates a musical reaction through my cheek bone and all the way to my brain where it interprets the sounds of music. Where an ordinary man finds an excuse, a courageous man finds a way,”

Osmond didn’t let his hearing loss hinder his dreams. Instead he’s allowed it to propel him forward to do greater things and to find his God-given gifts. He wrote a book called “Hearing With Your Heart” and is also continuing his grandmother’s legacy and vision through the Olive Osmond Perpetual Hearing Fund. Olive Osmond was the founder of the Osmond Foundation, which is now called The Children's Miracle Network. A primary objective of the Osmond Foundation was to promote hearing health awareness.

“I have decided to reiterate her original dream and carry her legacy and dream to help promote the needs of the hearing impaired worldwide," Osmond said. "In her honor, I have established the Olive Osmond Perpetual Hearing Fund.”

Osmond currently works for the Starkey Hearing Foundation and travels the world giving away millions of dollars worth of hearing aids each year. He finds joy in helping children receive the gift of better hearing.

“A world void of sound can be quite lonely and difficult,” he said. “But when you fit a child who hears their mom’s voice for their very first time, it’s like a light switch comes on. The family is reconnected, and the miracle of bonding takes place.”

As Osmond travels and speaks to many, he uses music in his ventures whenever he can. His musical talents inspire others to believe that they, too, can reach their goals in the face of any obstacles.

“I usually play my violin to help others see that they may have a hearing loss, but that hearing loss doesn’t necessarily have to have (them),” Osmond said. “My personal motto is ‘I may have a hearing loss, but that hearing loss does not have me.’”

No matter what comes, Osmond is not only determined to find his way, but also wants to help others find their own paths and follow their dreams.

“Dreams can become reality with a lot of hard work, patience, perseverance and faith,” Osmond said.

For more information, visit justinosmond.com.

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