This season’s premiere of The Voice introduced yet another inspiring contestant to fans when Treeva Gibson, a 16-year-old Maryland native, was put through to the top 48 despite contending with hearing loss.
Though one in four people in the U.S. above the age of 65 struggle with disabling hearing loss, it’s extremely difficult for teenagers to cope with this problem — especially while trying to perform. The singing show works by having contestants audition for famous musicians, who then act as coaches and choose singers to compete against each other. A combination of the judges’ opinions and public voting determines who stays on the show and who is kicked off after the initial auditions. The show started its eighth season Feb. 23, and will conclude in May.
Gibson’s hearing loss prevents her from hearing sounds in certain ranges, so she can hear the instrumental aspect of tracks, but not most vocals. This has allowed her to develop a unique style, she said, and she is completely self-taught.
Both Blake Shelton and Christiana Aguilera expressed interest in adding Gibson to their teams after her performance of Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful.” “It was one of those smooth textures that really triggers my ears,” Aguilera said. “I did hear a few notes that were pitchy, but hey, that’s where we work together.”
“Your voice completely just drapes over the band,” Shelton commented. “It’s not something that you can do by design. You’re born to sing that way. That’s amazing.”
Gibson, however, chose to join Team Christina by signing Aguilera’s name so that her parents — who are both deaf — could see her decision.
“Listening to her voice, she sounds amazing! The fact that she has overcome the obstacle of her hearing loss and continued to pursue her dream is astounding. It shows a great maturity and strength of character–especially for someone so young. It even seems like she has taken what would seem to most to be a major disadvantage and instead used it as a stepping stone to develop her own unique style and voice. I can’t wait to see her next performance!” said Kelli Kernan, L-HIS at Heartland Hearing Centers.
Gibson shared her excitement through her personal Twitter account after the show. “What an amazing night. good night and sweet dreams, though I couldn’t even dream anything better than this, as cheesy as it sounds,” she tweeted.