Normal and Sensitive Hearers

>Date: Thu, 26 Mar 1998 10:49:36 EST
>From: Sorrento95 <>

>In a message dated 98-03-26 06:08:33 EST, Pellegrino

»My experience is that less than one person in a thousand will
»complain about sounds that most on this list would consider
»excessive; this list is not composed of average or normal
»people in the dictionary sense.

>Complaining about something and being bothered by something
>are two different things. Many will suffer in silence -- as non-
>smokers did in elevators three decades ago before the message
>starting spreading in society that it´s OK to insist on clean air.

RP - For all stimuli different people have different thresholds for just noticing a stimulus, noticing the differences between stimuli, finding a stimulus irritating, finding a stimulus painful, and finding that a painful stimulus will leave them with physical and psychological damage. Ain't it grand we´re not all the same? So priest/scientists test a large group to come up with an average, a mean or norm. If you don´t fall in that average cluster, you´re not normal - you deviate from the mean (you´re a freak in the soft sense). It doesn´t mean you´re an evil person, inhuman or especially ugly; it just means you´re more or less different from the norm. Those who suffer in silence must have their reasons and probably need to work on their communication skills a bit.

>Are you saying that only 1 in 1000 are bothered by such things
>as the sounds of boom cars, loud motorcycles, and barking
>dogs entering their ears as they are trying to sleep? If that´s
>true, then I might as well give up and move into a cave
>somewhere and become a hermit -- else I am condemned to
>live out my life in a hell of noise. Political action with other
>noise haters has appeared to me as the only other possible
>solution. Do you have any published survey evidence pertinent
>to this question?

RP - Moving into a cave might be bit extreme plus you´ll have to deal with a whole new set of problems such as bat droppings, perpetual darkness, dank air, and who knows how many different kinds of offensive creatures might want to crawl into bed with you. This is where the principle of "learning to be light and fast and living in the gaps (the silences)" comes into play. One application of that principle is to use common sense and simply keep yourself out of harm´s way. Get clear on your values and thoroughly research an area before you move into it. If the area deteriorates while you´re there, do the research again and move. Repeat as many times as necessary. (Hint: avoid construction yards, factories, entertainment districts, railways, malls, downtown areas, truck routes, airports, etc.) Some of us view political action as a massive generator of psychic noise as well as being a huge sinkhole for life energy. And when matters are self-evident doing what is required to produce a published survey would just be another generator of psychic noise.

»such as excessive sound, an issue that most people avoid even
»though they may not be "comfortable" with excessive sound;
»in fact they may not even be conscious of it. Many people
»believe they can "turn a deaf ear" to sound that they prefer
»not to hear; what they don´t know is that they're inviting deaf
»ears by being in the presence of those undesirable sounds. The
»fact is also that we live in a society with a mainstream that is
»gradually going deaf; all of our transportation systems create
»a sonic barrage.

>How can someone "not be comfortable with excessive sound"
>while at the same time not be conscious of that which makes
>him uncomfortable? That seems like a non-sequitur to me.

RP - Read the sentence again paying attention to the punctuation. The meaning should be clear. I´m including a quotation of mine from an earlier post to this list that provides an illustration:

"My experience with continuous low level sounds is that people only have the illusion that they are acclimatized to it after a minute or two. I´ve often had the experience of walking into a public space such a post office, bank, or university classroom and noticing that a fluorescent fixture was buzzing in its inimitably irritating way. The workers behind the counters always look wasted. When I draw their attention to the buzzing they usually dismiss it by saying they´re used to it and don´t even hear it anymore. I always tell them they´ll feel much better when they replace the bulb because even though their brain seems to have switched off the signal to their over-driven receptor cells, the buzzing sound will still course through their nervous system. Any cell repeatedly or overly stimulated will gradually become exhausted and desensitized until it shuts down first temporarily and eventually forever. The fact is that there is no way to escape the resonating influence of sound. What makes sound so powerful for good and evil is that it envelops the organism and physically influences the individual cells as well as cell families (organs) to vibrate in sympathy with the sound forms. This is ancient knowledge just lately being remembered as the interest in music (sound) therapy grows in the mainstream culture. A recent book worth studying on this subject is THE MOZART EFFECT by Don Campell published by Avon Books."

>How can anyone "turn a deaf ear" to sounds which are loud
>enough to cause hearing impairment? Professional literature
>in audiology says that a half-hour exposure of 95 decibels is
>sufficient to impair hearing. How could anyone tune out
>95 decibels? That decibel level has more than 1000 times
>the sound intensity of normal conversation.

RP - Yes, it does seem incredible that anyone would take the "turn a deaf ear" stance. I figure those who do are temporarily deaf, permanently deaf, or well on their way to becoming permanently deaf. It´s common to see men with no hearing protection working with chain saws, pneumatic hammers, leaf blowers, earthmovers, etc. Mention to them (without a whine) the potential damage to their hearing and what you´ll normally get is a friendly macho waveoff. Though some kitchen appliances such as blenders may have a relatively low horse power rating, they can generate very high noise levels in a confined resonant space. Our kitchen is certainly rare in having sound level reducing earmuffs hanging from magnetic hooks on the refrigerator.

>If the mainstream is indeed going deaf, as you say, are we
>"freaks" or even "abnormal" because we wish to implement
>rules in our society which would protect human hearing?
>Do normal people believe it's OK to be hearing-impaired?

>Michael Wright

RP - Apparently the sentiment for quiet is weak. We live in a society that worships power and high levels of anything including sound are interpreted as signs of power.

Ron Pellegrino

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