The Heart of Hearing


“It’s a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn’t want to hear.” – Dick Cavett

The hearing impaired used to be the humorous territory of old people. But, as was recently pointed out to me, seniors may have to surrender exclusive rights to not having a clue about what’s being said to succeeding generations.

For a variety of reasons – work, entertainment venues, home maintenance – wherever those rare moments of silence were blasted to smithereens, the boomers are next in line for “what?” The hearing wars are played out in America’s living rooms – the at home battlefield. Does this sound familiar? “Please turn the TV down.” “What?” “Turn it down. It’s too loud.” “What?” “$)%(#%/*#”

Teenagers are next and may still hear “selectively” more often than not. Their ears are filled with buds and when I pass them on the street, I catch a riff of whatever they have blasting their brains. The hearing aid people are rubbing their hands together in job-security glee.

A word about selective hearing – sometimes it’s a good thing. It can get you out of doing crappy tasks (“never mind I’ll do it myself”), unpleasant conversations focused on your shortcomings, or the muttered assessment of your parenting by that child who has discovered you’ve gone stupid.

And now, almost anyone can hear – with or without an aid. I’m talking about cell phones and how comfortable people have become sharing their personal business or latest scam with the world. If you’re on a plane, folded into something the size of your granddaughter’s car seat, having just purchased pretzels for five bucks, you can hear inane conversations in the air. Is this hearing or auditory assault?

Air born? Bring precautions – well, those too if you’re going to join the mile-high club. I meant headphones, earmuffs, or ear buds, and this time, crank those babies up. You might ruin what’s left of your hearing, but you’ll miss a recap by the guy in the row behind you of last night’s whatever.

And bless you James:
“I love hearing people laugh.” – James Gandolfini


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