Surrounded by screaming fans at Madison Square Garden, Justin Osmond watched his dad and uncles onstage perform some of the hits that made the Osmonds mega-stars of the 1970s.
However, Justin’s profound hearing loss prevented him from understanding what his own father was singing about.
In the middle of 20,000 people, Justin had never felt more alone.
On the latest episode of ‘Sound Advice with the Osmonds,’ Justin Osmond explains what it was like being connected to Utah’s most famous musical family while being born 90% deaf.
In the video podcast, he describes some of the lowest lows he felt while being unable to hear his own father performing on the stage in front of thousands of fans.
Growing up in a music world but unable to hear
Justin Osmond, the son of Osmonds lead singer and bassist, Merrill Osmond, was born on March 1, 1977, and was diagnosed with 90% hearing loss when he was two-years-old.
He has spent his entire life overcoming obstacles and challenges, including intense speech and listening therapy, but he says one of the biggest challenges he has experienced involves his own family.
“One of the biggest challenges in my life, one of the biggest mountains I’ve ever had to climb was being born into this musical family and not being able to hear and understand their music,” Justin said on the podcast.
He described the frustration of being unable to hear the famous family when they went to play in the “Big Apple.”
The Osmonds take on Madison Square Garden
On November 23, 1973, the Osmonds performed in New York’s famous venue, the Madison Square Garden, to a sold-out crowd, which was then described by the New York Times as, ‘a rare occasion when audience noise beats down group amplification.’
Justin remembers his time at a later concert where he experienced something completely different.
“I remember, I could feel the vibration of the drums but I could not understand the words of the lead singer — my own dad,” Justin said.
Watching the Osmonds perform was a once in a lifetime opportunity, but for Justin, he realized that even though he was surrounded by people who were showing love and support to the Osmonds, he felt more alone than ever.
“It was one of the strangest things because, in the middle of the crowd, I felt alone. I felt isolated, disconnected, frustrated. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world,” he said.
The importance of a great support system
Even though Justin was left feeling alone and disconnected from society, he was able to find support in those who were closest to him — his family.
“I had wonderful parents, had amazing brothers and sisters that gave me that encouragement and that motivation to keep going and never give up,” he said.
That motivation has enabled Justin to push the boundaries that were set upon him since he was born.
So much so, that he has founded the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund which raises awareness of deaf issues and promotes hearing-health educational services.
And he assures listeners that hopelessness and hardship should never stop us from achieving our dreams.
“I believe that we do not overcome hopelessness by removing the obstacles in our lives. We conquer adversity by not letting it own us, control us, overcome us, or even define us,” he concluded.
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