Talking about listening… or is it hearing? December 14, 2008Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.
You may recall that I went to see Hermano last month, and while mightily enjoyable not least because I was probably in a cohort of people there who could reasonably be described as of advanced years – and the fact that almost all there all dressed in the same shades of black, which has its own entertainment value – I have to report a worrying development.
Following the gig, or directly afterwards, there was the usual muffled hearing. But… this was still there the following day and then as it subsided was replaced by a hiss in my right ear. This lasted at an audible level until about midday the following Monday. So, all of 36 hours in total. It’s gone now, but I’m conscious of a very very faint hiss when in a quiet room.
This is, as you’ll guess, problematic. I like my music. I like making it – doodling away in Logic on the Mac – but more especially I like listening to it. Last thing at night, at the weekend. Here and there.
The hiss isn’t very loud it is true. Indeed it’s so soft as to be inaudible almost all the time. But… if I concentrate, and I’m the sort of person who does when presented with such things…
The funny thing is that I’ve always been pretty careful about it. I didn’t use a walkman for extended periods. At live music my chosen path was always to surreptitiously wad my ears with torn pieces of paper handkerchiefs. I’ve never enjoyed being at the front of a gig by the speakers. In fact I can only remember doing so at a Royal Trux gig in the mid 1990s. And that wasn’t great.
In the early 2000s I had a suspicion that my hearing had been blunted on a couple of frequencies by exposure to the hum of a computer all day every day for years, but nothing too pronounced.
Then came the iPod. Some years back I got one and although again I was careful I suspect I wasn’t careful enough. And messing about with music on the computer is a sure-fire way to cause trouble. In fact I’d say that that might be the root of the problem.
So I’m ramping back on noise. A lot. I’d already given up playing music on my iPod at anything over the lowest setting and podcasts are now fainter. Television? Well, I find I sometimes can’t catch the odd word here and there. I’m sure it’s due to them being spoken too quickly. Yeah. I’m certain that’s it. On the computer I’ve already hung up the big earphones. No loss there.
And so I figure I can preserve my hearing at least a while longer.
I had the option of getting to the Damned some weeks back but gave it a miss. I’d seen them before, even met Captain Sensible, but somehow inflicting another evening’s music on my battered eardrums seemed – foolish. And although if I had gone I’d have worn ear plugs, well, I’m not sure I’m really that keen to expose myself to any further attrition. To take that risk.
But the funny thing is that I wonder how much more time I have before it gets worse, or do these things stabilise? Where I am at the moment isn’t bad. Indeed it’s broadly speaking fine. But as with other things I notice that there is no steady state in life.
And what was it that old right-ring fraud Ted Nugent said? If it’s too loud you’re too old.
For once, just once, he might be right.
And the relevance of the last verse of “I’m an Adult Now” by Canadian band, The Pursuit of Happiness, from the late 1980s seems never more obvious…
Sometimes my head hurts and sometimes my stomach hurts
And I guess it won’t be long
Till I’m sitting in a room with a bunch
of people whose necks and backs are aching
Whose sight and hearing’s failing
Who just can’t seem to get it up
Speaking of hearing, I can’t take too much loud music
I mean I like to play it, but I sure don’t like the racket
Noise, but I can’t hear anything
Just guitars screaming, screaming, screaming
Some guy screaming in a leather jacket