Justin Osmond, the second son of Merrill Osmond, lead singer of the world-famous Osmonds, was diagnosed with 90 percent hearing loss at age 2. In a new Ted Talk, he shared the challenges of being deaf in a legendary musical family and how he learned to embrace his limitations and turn them into his greatest strengths.
“One of the biggest mountains in my life was being born into the musical Osmond family and not being able to hear and understand their music,” he said. “I remember one time watching my family perform to a sold-out crowd at the New York Madison Square Garden with screaming fans and flashing lights and songs blasting over the sound system. I could feel the vibration of the drums, but I could not understand the words of the lead singer of the Osmonds—my own dad.”
Osmond explained that he received 12 years of intense speech therapy and that, despite being told he would never be able to play a musical instrument, he learned to play the violin, viola, piano, and drums.
“We do not overcome hopelessness by removing the obstacle in our lives,” he said. “We conquer adversity by not letting it own us, control us, or overcome us. . . . I may a have a hearing loss, but my hearing loss does not have me. . . . [Being deaf] made me who I am today.”
Osmond went on to share how he was bullied in junior high and high school because of his hearing loss and how he got through it. “We can control the quality of our lives just by how we think and act toward those challenges,” he said. “My loss has become my greatest advantage. I’ve learned to embrace my hearing disability and then allow it to empower me instead of holding me back.”
Watch Justin Osmond’s entire Ted Talk below. And don’t miss his inspiring violin performance at 13:08.