Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"

I'd better start off this post with a warning.  I feel a MAJOR RANT coming on!  Although most days, I am sweetness and light (well....I am!), sometimes something inspires me to harangue all of you sweet Blogger friends, with one of my "The Queen is NOT happy" moods!  And this is that day!  Buckle up!

Also just a quick disclaimer:  The "you" referenced in the following posting, is not referring to any of my sweet Blogger friends, but rather to some other parties whose numbers shall remain legion and whose names shall remain forever unknown!  OK, now that I've scared you all to death, I'll get on with it.

NEWSFLASH:  As people age, their bodies begin to fall apart.  Really!  It's true.  You wake up one morning and your joints are all stiff and jumping out of bed is no longer a given.  Another day you realize that your glasses just aren't cutting it anymore.  You already have bifocals, now you need trifocals!  Still another day, you realize that the quiet you are enjoying isn't because you are home alone!  Nope, noise is being made all around you, you JUST CAN'T HEAR IT!   Or at least not all of it. 

The last time I had my hearing checked (I admit, it's been awhile), I was told that my hearing loss is not typical aged induced deafness.  Probably due to all the ear infections I have had over the course of my lifetime, my hearing impairment is the opposite of what is typical hearing loss.  Most people as they get older, begin to lose the capability to hear high frequency sounds.  I, on the other hand, am losing the low frequency sounds.  "Well, what difference does it make?", you might ask.  "You're still going deaf, like the rest of us."

Au contraire, mes amis!  I might be going deaf like the rest of my generation, but what I can hear DOES make a difference!  I'll tell you why.  When making a Sound, as it relates to speech, the voice uses different frequency levels for different types of sounds.  The high frequencies carry the vowels and the low frequencies carry the consonants.  So if I have trouble hearing lower frequencies, when someone speaks to me, what I hear mostly is AAA-II-EE-UUUUU.  Whereas those that have trouble hearing higher frequencies, hear mostly is  shr-tttr-slllml-kkcl-ffwww-splllllsch!  You see the problem? 

As luck would have it, my hearing loss means I hear mostly vowels.  Unfortunately the Big Guy's hearing loss means he hears mostly consonants.  Neither one of us can hear what the other one is saying!!  We spend a lot of our time together screaming, "What???" at each other!   The is especially true when he is in one room and I am in another.  Trust me, this has not improved our communications over the last couple of years.  It is frustrating.  Neither of us is quite bad enough to require hearing aids yet, but the day is coming.  Probably soon.

I really hate to mention it but that isn't really what my rant is about.  (Yeah, I know, six paragraphs and I haven't gotten to point yet???)  I'm sorry, but that is what is called the set-up....annoying, but essential to getting to the point.....which I am getting to!

In the last few weeks the Big Guy and I attended two events involving M-t-G.  The first was her Girls' Choir Concert.  The second was the Spring Music Recital for the kids taking violin, cello, or piano from the same teacher.  When it comes to the music, both of these events were extremely enjoyable and M-t-G did very well in both.  We were proud of her!

Nevertheless, I was annoyed with both teachers.  They are both professional musicians.  Musicians, by the nature of their work, spend much of their time in performance, often in front of a paying audience.   There are certain requirements of musicians and others who perform in from of an audience.  The first requirement is that the participants should be both visible and audible to the audience.  Musicians are aware of something called acoustics, that is, whether the room where the performance is to be held is constructed in such a way that sound is or is not absorbed into the walls and ceilings, making it difficult to hear. This is why microphones were invented, to boost the voices and sounds of the performance so that the audience can hear what is going on.  And that includes everything that is going on, including introductions, welcomes, whatever, that is being spoken.

These two musicians were both guilty of the same mistake, and they should know better! Neither of them used any amplification for their voices; and neither of them even tried to raise their voices to be sure their audience could hear them.  I couldn't!  In both situations, there were a fair number of grandmas and grandpas is the audience (who else goes to see kids perform?)  Neither of the two teachers even tried to be heard.  At all!

That my friends, really ticked me off!  Is there anyone out there who really doesn't know that some people have difficulty hearing?  Not just us "old" folks, but lots of other people too.  But, (and here is where my RANT really gets underway) hardly anyone ever takes that into consideration in situations where there is someone speaking to an audience of more than five people.  Even professional performers don't always get it.

It is a fact, folks, not being able to hear what is going on really defeats the effectiveness of speaking to a group rather than one-on-one!  Besides which, it really ticks people off!  You've all seen it happen too, I bet.  Ever been at a PTA meeting or a club meeting, or anything of that nature, where the floor is opened to questions or comments?  Isn't there always someone that you must strain to hear?  Someone that refuses to use a microphone even when it is  right there, saying, "Oh, I don't need that!  You can all hear me, right??"  Well, no, that's not right!  Not all of us CAN hear you.  Sometimes, people won't even stand up in those circumstances!  So not only are they impossible to hear, you can't even see their faces when they talk, so you can't even read their lips!!

The rant that I am ranting has been true for many, many years, not just since I began to have hearing loss.  Every cold that I have ever had, leads to plugged up ears and some temporary hearing loss.  My career necessitated my attending a gazillion meetings of various sizes, and there was always someone I could not hear!  Always!  Even after being TOLD they were speaking too softly!!  Lifting their voices for two or three phrases and then sliding back into their inaudible mumblings.  It's enough to make you get up and leave.

If you have something that is important enough that you want to share it with a group, please, PLEASE, consider the fact that not everyone has perfect hearing.  Consider also that your voice is softer than you think and stop insulting your audience by not caring whether or not you can be heard.

On behalf of everyone who experiences difficulty hearing for ANY reason, I want to ask every person who ever speaks to a group, to please:

1.  Stand up when you speak.
2.  Raise your voice and don't mumble.
3.  And, for the love of God, use the damn microphone.

Otherwise, your message is wasted and lost forever.

If you don't care whether I can hear you, then I don't care about what you have to say!!

-- End of Rant --

I feel better now.
Thank you for your support.
We return you now to our regular programming.


  1. Mellodee, you are singing my song! I have a severe hearing loss (due to childhood ear infections, three surguries, etc) and I know exactly what you mean. I get really mad when someone is trying to make an announcement, yet refuses to use a microphone, or even speak up. My church is a classic example. It's old and very ornate, but the acoustics aren't modern. Therefore, when someone stands up to make an announcement, or a prayer request, their voice is lost to the 30 ft. ceiling. They are always offered a mike, but most refuse to use it!
    Our Pastor for the last 3 years spoke so softly that, even with a mike, he was unheard by those of us with hearing problems. I finally quit staying for his sermons. I would just go on home after the choir anthem and watch church on TV. At least I could turn it up loud enough to hear.
    Hearing aids are great: I have one. But they don't solve every hearing problem.

  2. Very good tips, Mellodee!

    (And rest assured, as I type this comment, I'm standing up; I'm not mumbling; AND I'm using a mic!) ;)

  3. Mellodee; You hit the nail on the head. Having sat next to you at many rehearsals and stood next to you on stage in front of many, people want to hear what is being said. Keep on ranting, talking, complaining and complimenting. It's healthy and good for the soul.
    Take care.....(The Tall One in the Trio) :)

  4. Mellodee; You hit the nail on the head. After sitting next to you at so many rehearsals and standing next to you on stage in front of thousands, people do want to hear what you are saying. Keep on ranting, writing, complaining, complimenting. It's healthy and good for the soul. Take care....(The Tall On of the Trio)

  5. HELEN!!! Hello, welcome, bless you for visiting!! I get so excited when someone I know (and love) comes to visit, even virtually! LOL! Hope you come again!

    Take care, oh Tall One!

    Big Hugs,

    The Old One in the Trio

  6. Although I now slide out of bed rather than jump, gravity has shifted many of my body parts, I have had cataract surgery in both eyes, and my knees sound like crickets - I still haven't had hearing problems! Yet. My husband can't say the same and I have become used to saying just enough the first time for him to say "What?" and concentrate, then I say the whole sentence. Ain't old age wonderful


Thanks so much for leaving a comment. It's really nice knowing what you think!! Besides, comments keep me from feeling like I'm here all by myself!! :)

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