Living to appreciate sound
22-year-old Austin Johnston is aspiring to go back to school to study linguistics emphasizing in sign language. Why? Aside from growing up with numerous friends who are deaf or hard of hearing, he has a rare disease known as Meniere’s Disease.Austin was born and raised in a town near Houston, TX known as Magnolia. When he was in the 9th grade he went to the Mayhem Festival in Austin to hear his favorite band Disturbed.
“I went to the concert specifically to hear their set,” recalls Austin.
The first band he heard was Five Finger Death Punch, an American heavy metal band from Las Vegas, NV. As soon as their set was over, Austin’s hearing went out due to his disease.
“I was very disappointed because I missed the first five sets from Disturbed,” Austin stated.
Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes spontaneous episodes of vertigo-a sensation of a spinning motion-along with fluctuating hearing loss, ringing in the ear, and sometimes a feeling of fullness or pressure in your ear. Austin explained his hearing usually goes out right after a concert because of the constant loud music to be heard in the venue space. Because there was a break between bands and it began going quiet, Austin’s hearing went out and it was over an hour before he was able to hear again.
Austin moved to Las Cruces, NM shortly after with his mother and grandmother. He currently resides there and is hoping to attend New Mexico State University by Spring 2016