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Dance and hearing - the volume of the music does matter


Anjuli_Bai
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At one point in my teaching career I taught  at a college.  The parking facility was huge and one had to walk quite a distance to reach the dance studio complex.  I realized one day as I trekked across that huge parking lot that I could hear the music from the dance class.  Upon arrival, I had to wait for the modern/contemporary class to finish and my ballet class to begin - and during that wait had to remain well away from the classroom - the music blaring at a painful level.

 

 

Knowing the modern dance teacher well, I had an opportunity to mention the level of volume of the recorded music she used.  She smiled and said:  "It doesn't matter - we are already half deaf after years of dancing to this music.  She was a really nice woman and very knowledgeable in her field - but the smile as she said this was disturbing.  She just accepted it as a given that a dancer - at least in the  modern genres of dance - would incur a certain amount of deafness.

 

We encounter a lot of noise in our daily lives for which nature (give or take a thunder clap or volcano or two) did not intend our ears to absorb.  The nerves of the ears are one of the most sensitive in our bodies.  

 

Not only do we often inflct harm upon ourselves without giving it much thought - but we also do so upon children.  The small child who accompanies its parents to a sporting event, youngsters in a dance class.  Our society all too often equates noise with fun.  Many arenas electronically enhance the sound of the crowd and amplify it and then play it back.

 

Each time one comes away from an event with a ringing in the ears (tinitus) - even if it abates after a while - some damage has been done.  And, one day that ringing will be permanent as will the diminished hearing..  

 

It's something to think about when you visit your child's dance class.

 

 

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Some very good points there Anjuli. 

 

I went to see a performance of Hofesh Shecter's Political Mother at the Lowry last year.  The performance featured a live rock band.  I was sat on a direct level with the speakers and I (and I noticed the people on either side of me) spent the entire performance with our fingers stuck in our ears!    Most of the people in front of us didn't seem to have an issue.  On a backstage tour of the Lowry I asked about the noise levels and was told there were strict government rules in place but there may have been the odd "hotspot".

 

I'm afraid I am guilty of having the radio on in my car way too loud.  I got home one night when my niece was staying with us and I was listening to the end of the piece that was on.  My niece opened her window and yelled at me to turn the noise down!  Oh dear......

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I began suffering from Tinnitus a few years ago now,and get it at very frequent times. My ears are ringing as we speak. Went to see the doctor about it a few years back who said there is nothing that can be done about it,and it is mainly just a factor of getting older [it will be my 46th birthday next Sunday].But I do wonder how much of it is down to the Oasis gigs I used to attend too.They were deafeningly loud,and my ears would ring all the next day after the show too. Seeing them outdoors wasn`t too bad,but when I saw them at either the Odyssey Arena in Belfast,or the Point Theatre in Dublin,it really was quite deafening.Actually the very last time I saw Oasis [the only band I ever saw live] was at Slane Castle. Ironically it was to be their last live gig,as Liam and Noel Gallagher had yet another falling out not long after and Noel quit the band for good. But at Slane,what made me decide this was going to be my last ever live gig was the amount of drunken idiots throwing lager over me and my son while we sat on the grass trying to enjoy ourselves.I remember sighing to myself and thinking,I`m getting too old for this now. !  But the tinnitus is a problem that really affects my balance as well.Sometimes I wake up and get out of bed and nearly fall over. The joys of getting older.!

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It doesn't always have to be a rock band....I've had it happen at the opera.

 

We went to see "Pearl Fishers" and when the tenor sang that stunningly beautiful aria our seats were vibrating.

 

There were complaints at an orchestra performance of the 1812 Overture which included real cannons going off (even blanks are loud) all around the audience.

 

Once in a small neighborhood public library they had a children's program which included some live music - guitar, ukelali, etc. The children were sitting on a carpet literally at the feet of the musicians.  And all around them were - literally within a couple of feet - were huge amplifiers.

 

When I asked the musicians if amplification was necessary when the children were mere inches away - he told me - "yes - the instruments only work if they are plugged into the amps."

 

We walk out of loud restaurants and I do believe that the YELP site online lists the noise levels at restaurants.  For me, the pleasure of eating with someone is being able to hold a conversation.  In a number of Mexican restaurants patrons have made an issue of the Mariachi groups playing tableside.  While most people enjoy the music (including me) - a full horn blast 12 inches from one's ear is not music.  So, lately the musicians have lowered the level somewhat.  The restaurants were losing customers.

 

I always carry ear plugs in my purse, and have had to use them at a couple of dance performances.  And, then, sadly there have been a couple of major dance performances we simply had to leave.  We were not the only ones to do so.

 

But in a dance class, the children are unwitting victims.

 

Tinitus and loss of hearing are not only brought on and exacerbated  by noise, but also age and many medications, as well as dental work, head colds, etc.

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Tinnitus can certainly be treated to improve the symptoms. My husband ended up with a hearing aid which helped massively but there are other treatments available, just google treatment for tinnitus and then get back to the doctor! If its making you very dizzy, even occasionally I would say its worth pursuing.

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