The Best Sounds In The World
by Martin Jurek
There’s a place down by Salmon Point, just a short drive from Campbell River, where Jana and I like to go for walks. There, removed from even the ubiquitous din of highway traffic, we’re able to fully immerse ourselves in the therapeutic solitude of nature.
As we walk, sparrows, flickers and other songbirds twitter a melodic harmony that melts even the most deeply lodged remnants of weekday stress. A warm spring breeze rustles gently as it glides through the cedars, while the calm waters of the Salish Sea lap unfalteringly against the pebbled beach.
These sounds are like therapy. Mother Nature’s soothing soundtrack is a perfect little pill that we can pop whenever life’s hustle becomes too much or we simply need a spiritual reset.
But here’s the thing . . .
I know not everyone can hear these soothing sounds that give Jana and me so much cathartic pleasure.
As our hearing sensitivity begins to change, it’s these soft sounds that are generally the first to go. Most of the 3.5 million Canadians living with reduced hearing sensitivity, in fact, don't even realize it. So think carefully . . . how many of these soul-soothing sounds are missing from your life?
The satisfying crackle of a campfire . . .
The soothing burble of a forest brook . . .
The gentle tapping of the morning rain on your rooftop . . .
The sizzle of bacon in a Sunday morning skillet . . .
The tender “I love you” whispered in a warm embrace . . .
It’s more serious than you think
I’ve seen too many relationships taxed to the brink because of an undiagnosed or otherwise unnoticed change in hearing. A husband will complain that his wife is constantly mumbling, for example, or a wife will accuse her husband of constantly ignoring her. These are just two of the most obvious ways a change in hearing can slowly erode the quality of your life.
Studies have shown that our hearing can also have a significant affect on other areas of our health. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University, for example, recently found that individuals with an untreated change in hearing sensitivity also face an elevated risk of dementia. Another survey showed significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety and other psychosocial disorders.
Make no mistake about it: this is serious stuff.
Yet I can’t help but be drawn back to the simple, subtle pleasures we derive from sound, like the ones Jana and I enjoy at Salmon Point. What does it mean to miss out on the background sounds of life? Like Schindler’s List without John Williams’ heart-wrenching soundtrack, life’s simplest pleasures can easily become void of emotional meaning or complexity.
Living with reduced hearing sensitivity is like walking through life with tunnel vision; the true crime is that you rarely realize the significance of what you’re missing.
If you suspect that you or someone you love may be missing some of life’s finer details, I encourage you to find out more about how to recognize and deal with changes in hearing sensitivity. We’ve provided a few resources to get you started on our Hearing Solutions page.
Every decision about your health and your hearing, of course, is yours and yours alone – and that includes whether or not to book a complimentary hearing assessment. If we can provide you with information when you want it, and be here to answer any questions you might have, then we’ve done our job.
But if we can also help you rediscover the full beauty and aural complexity of this wonderful thing we call existence – well, that would be music to my ears.