Does anyone else notice how loud life has gotten? Given that I am hard of hearing, you might think noise would not be an issue. There are all kinds of noises. There are the literal sounds we hear at home, of people talking, of dogs barking, of water flowing. There are noises that frighten us, like sudden screams in public, the sound of cars crashing, or of gunfire – all of which dominate American films. I know it can’t just be me who feels overwhelmed by the noise of our Culture. Take my little loudness factor test and see if you agree.

When is the last time you went to a place to eat dinner and did not have to almost yell over the music? I do not go to any restaurant to hear their music selection.  I go to eat their food and I wish someone in the food industry would understand, that listening to obnoxious or even relatively acceptable music played loudly, is neither good for digestion or conversation. I rarely go out to eat anymore.

When’s the last time anyone in America went to a professional baseball game and could hear the sound of the plays, the bat hitting the ball, the crowd’s cheers, the players and umpires voices?  All the flavor and majesty of baseball is gone. Why? The sound system in each stadium is so intensely overwhelming that one has to wear ear plugs simply to sit in the stands. Talk to someone else?  Forget it — the heavy metal and outrageously loud sound effects, destroys any sense of feeling connected to the game. Once upon a time, even spectators got to feel and hear the sound of this American sport. I rarely go to baseball games anymore.

What about the shopping malls?  How many stores play music so loudly that you want to get out as soon as you walk in? You got the theme — I rarely shop in malls anymore. I’m not sure why what was once called background music has taken over the foreground of so many environments and situations. Even hospitals blast names and queries over their intercom system that might just wake the dead or keep one from dying. No matter where one goes today, even in the train’s quiet car going to New York, someone is talking loudly on their cell phone.

My husband suggests I get hearing aids, so that I will hear him better and be able to follow conversations in large groups. But given how loud everything else is, even if I had them, they would likely fall into the category of something I rarely use.


Zohara M. Hieronimus D.H.L

Oct. 20, 2011