Quiet, Please!

Used to think that people who wore hearing-aids couldn’t hear — as if someone turned down their volume. Now I know differently. Some people need hearing aids because they hear too much!

On Monday I have my first-ever appointment with an audiologist. Closing in on 66, I guess it’s to be expected. My doctor tactfully softened his suggestion by saying, “It would be good to have a baseline for the future.” In my heart of hearts I knew I needed more.

There is a lot of clatter, clamor and bellowing commotion out there. I’ve really noticed it at parties and in restaurants.  But I am increasingly unable to differentiate what people are saying on TV or radio as well. It’s not that I cannot hear, I hear too well — too much has become an indecipherable cacophony of noise and babble.

Would someone please turn down the volume! My doctor tells me hearing-aids will help with some of this but they are not a cure-all. He was speaking about the functioning of my ears. We did not pursue an equally insightful political commentary in his diagnosis.

Couldn’t we all use a little more quiet right now? Don’t we all want the shouting to stop and a return to a more civil tone? Filtering out some of the “boys-terous” shouting on the airwaves and in our public square seems to be a desperate need many of us are experiencing.

Sometimes I want to turn off the volume all-together. But I fear what would happen if too many of us do that — the shouters and noise-makers would have a free-for-all. We’d all be in an even worse condition than we are now — imagine that!

What are we to do? We can start by setting our baseline, what’s acceptable, what we will tolerate. We also need to turn down the volume. Some voices we may need to turn off all together. Whatever may be right for us, we each need to protect our hearing, be conscious of the noise we generate, and moderate our public discourse.

This morning I happened upon a marvelous two-minute trailer for a movie to be released on March 12. It was a feast to my throbbing ears, a soothing respite from the incessant shouting. Treat yourself to a couple minutes of listening to this promo for In Pursuit of Silence. As the subtitle aptly promises, it’s a quiet movie with much to say. [link here]

 

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