Yeah, an odd title but as I do fall into the category of a person with that particular malady I can say that it can often lead to inspiration.
For example, I heard a radio ad this morning for a restaurant which I thought was Mex – Italee, a place that specialized in Mexican Italian cuisine. Seems plausible no? I once knew a guy who was opening up a Tex -Viet restaurant. I don’t think it stayed around long.
One thing about not hearing well is that at some point you just give trying to understand what people are saying. You make pretty quick decisions as to whether the words are important or not. If you think that they are you pay close attention and ask for a repeat. If not, well then it doesn’t matter even if you’ve guessed wrong.
Having lived with kids who mumble and talk while walking in the opposite direction or who communicate through closed doors it becomes pretty clear how frustrating and depressing not hearing well can be. Even loaded up with a pair of “deaf aids” as John Lennon said doesn’t always help. As the old joke goes:
I got a new hearing aid.
What kind is it?
Not hearing well is like having cotton stuffed in your ears all the time. Loud noises like blenders are particularly troublesome. In fact, loud noises in general are almost painful which doesn’t make sense because you would figure that if you can’t hear well that you can’t hear well period. Not so. Sirens kill me. Loud noises are not fun.
There are really no advantages of not hearing well with the exception of the occasional humorous misinterpretation. Hearing aids help but loud noises become magnified and unbearable. You can’t win.
I enjoy being in places where silence, the lack of ambient sound is a sound in itself. No highway rumble in the distance which I can almost sense more than hear, no planes overhead, no garbage trucks down the street, no dumpsters being unloaded and dropped to the pavement.
I’m getting more selective as to what I want to hear. Mostly I want to listen to acoustic guitars, birds and, cats purring and the sound of my feet hitting the ground as I run. The sound of my breath too. I want welcoming and gentle sound like the steady knock of a cuckoo clock ticking.
One the other hand there’s nothing like playing with the big band and hearing and feeling the drum kit. The more I play the more I can feel music as well as hear it. I’m over the self imposed stigma of wearing hearing help. You need glasses to see? You might need help to hear. In my biz I always have ear plugs for sound checks and shows. There are no dynamics in stadium rock and roll. We don’t need nearly the amplification that is available. If people had to listen and really pay attention then they wouldn’t need 50 feet high tall speaker stacks. Most of what I hear at work is not music anyway but that’s not where I intended to go with this post.
Lately I have been attending house concerts where the playing space is about as big as your living room. The voices are not miked and the instruments are not amplified. The sound is real and warm where a whisper can be heard and an acoustic guitar chord rings and rings until it gently falls away.
Hearing well or hearing not so well is defined by whether I want to listen or I want to hear. KInd of an awkward last sentence but this can be awkward and confusing. I won’t revise this post but I may amplify it a bit later down the road.