When Is A Good Thing Bad For You?

Fun doesn’t have to be deafening

On vacation on a beautiful island at a beautiful resort, lying on the beach under our covered cabana reading a good book. Life is perfect and sweet, you say.

However, I find myself in distraction, not able to read because of the constant thumping of loud bass music, if that is what you want to call it.

There is an dance-exercise class going on in the pavilion by the outdoor pool. I am far away from it and wanting to enjoy the sounds of the waves gently splash on the shore. But, all my nervous system can get is the loud percussive vibration of ‘boom boom boom.’

I try to ignore it, but keep having flashbacks to childhood when every noise from the television at the opposite end of our small  house would permeate my bedroom door and into my head and body, therefore disrupting any possibility of reading or studying. 

Call it an excuse, or call it being too aware of everything around me, it was me, who I was and still am.

My mother, my angel of angels, taught me with all her loving-ness how to be inside myself so not to hear or see or feel so strongly the outside world. With all her angelic insight and patience, she taught me skills again and again to take care of my inside world and to live happily and harmoniously with the outside world. You see, my mother was seriously hearing impaired from childhood. Of all the people I knew, she certainly had the most amazing skills of living in two worlds at one time.

She was raised by family who loved her so much, her Doda Shendel Feldenkrais. She studied from the world’s best, Jean Piaget, Jay Jampolsky, author of, “Love is letting go of fear.” And her cousin, Moshe Feldenkrais. She is learned in many world religions and the Talmud. Her wisdom is that of a full glass running over. And those who have the joy of knowing her know this to be true.

Let me return back to this cacophonous, thumping bass music that is booming through me, taking up my reading, thinking and listening space in my head and leads me to just one more important thing.  

I quit dancing in aerobics classes several years ago. As our aerobic teachers were aging their music volume went up and up. I recall asking my instructor to please not blast the music so loud in the fully inclosed, glass room because it literally hurt my ears, leaving me with ringing and buzzing. I asked others and they too, suffered the same woes. 

Her response was that the louder she cranked the volume the more it would incentivize the women. I responded that her enthusiasm and routines gave it to us more than anything. She was truly amazing. But apparently as she aged her hearing was going down and she didn’t realize she cranked the music louder and louder for herself to hear it, it was not for everyone else.

I begged her numerous times that such a loud volume in a  room where we could not move away from its loudness would eventually cause damage to most  people’s ears. She didn’t think so, and unfortunately after dancing my whole life, I had to quit. I always promised myself to take care of my hearing so not to participate in my own needless hearing loss and live the life of my mother and many others. The suffering of being alone and not being able to hear was her burden and I felt it in my own heart.

How many people do you know as they age cannot hear when they go to loud parties or restaurants anymore? Do you find yourself saying, “I want to go home.” Or, “Let’s go out to a quiet restaurant with our friends.”

My mother taught me how to read lips. But unfortunately, most people do not.

People take exercise classes to help their cardio and body strengthening and coordination. And I ask, at what cost? The cost of gaining one thing and losing another, your hearing?

I’m hoping people around the world will hear me in being able to have the best of both worlds, inside you and out.

Take care of your body and your hearing. It’s really not so hard.   

This way a good thing can really be a good thing for you at the same time!

Meanwhile, I still enjoy being on the beach without the thumping of bass in my ears and head. I prefer to hear the sounds of nature and gentle splashing of the waves against the shore’s sand. 

Tonight I will party. And that will be a good thing!

~Elinor Silverstein 

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