March 2019 Eastern Daily Press
A BAFTA winning DJ who has been profoundly deaf for more than 40 years is launching a new radio station to give local musicians airtime. Ian Luffman lost his hearing at just six years old, but has been in love with reggae music and DJ'd for more than 40 years, now he is about to launch his own reggae station. Mr Luffman forged a career in music, producing his own tracks which won him a BAFTA access to music award in 2005.
But less than a year after winning the award, the musician suffered catastrophic hearing loss which left him completely unable to hear for the next 13 years. He said: “It was terrible, I missed music so much. Not being able to hear people’s voices was hard.”
However, thanks to advances in audiology, Mr Luffman was given a cochlear implant in 2018, partially restoring his hearing. The DJ said: “It was strange – people sound like robots when they first put the implant in because your brain has to get used to processing sound again.” Although the implant enables the Wymondham musician to hear what he describes as “a muffled version of the music”, bass is still inaudible. Unfazed, Mr Luffman uses a combination of computer programmes which visually map out beats and the vibration from subwoofers to mix tracks for the show. He said: “One of the reasons I love reggae is that there’s lots of space in it. Other styles sound just like noise to me but reggae makes sense.”
Mr Luffman’s hearing loss means he is unable to play in clubs but said he was hopeful he could make an impact on the scene through his fledgling station. As well as a live breakfast show, the DJ will host a requests show, Saturday night dance party and gang of guest artists from reggae and beyond. Mr Luffman added: “Its going to be a great chance to promote local artists and hopefully introduce people to things they haven’t heard before.”