Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Sound of Silence

The NY Times posted an article close to my heart titled Meditations on Noise.

The reason why I quoted this excellent piece at length is the fact I am not only basically deaf (jazz/rock musician + family has a predisposition toward hearing loss as my two brothers are deaf as rocks like me) but also have tinnitus, two conditions that impact my life in ways only the deaf can relate to. 
For instance, loud noises physically hurt as the attenuation of hearing causes sound (sirens are the best) to hone in on the frequencies I can still pick up. 
Listening: Listening (via hearing aids of course) requires intense attention as a minimum 10-20% of conversation is inevitably lost and people's voices, like my wife's, are absolutely impossible to comprehend unless she shouts, a situation frustrating and annoying to the max for both of us. At the end of the day, I am mentally fried, both from concentration and from tinnitus. I keep telling myself, I must learn how to lip read.
Isolation: You definitely zone out. When I take out the hearing aids, silence comes to the fore, something restful as it requires no attention to deal with it. 
Music/Telephone Equation: Hearing music is tough. I miss that big time while talking on the telephone is becoming a real hassle. Email me because telling me anything of consequence, especially URLs, is a total dead ender.
No doubt, this nation is a big time noise machine. Boom boxes, base in cars, trucks, jack hammers,  iPods equipped with ear buds, the list goes on and on as tech becomes ever more pervasive, thus drowning out the natural world and the beneficial sounds that go with it.  Whenever I go to NYC, the first thing I do is take out the hearing aids as the city's noise assaults my senses. When thinking about this, I realize Dwight Garner's correct about the helplessness one feels when faced with sonic blasts seemingly able to knock you off your feet.

Terrific article to say the least. 
Post a Comment