[Harp-L] Re: Hearing yourself

Exposure to toxic work environments is a significant, often down-played hazard.
Industrial jobs have long subjected workers to life-diminishing and deadly consequences.
People who fly for a living are exposed to elevated UV rays and toxic, recycled cabin air.
Lead, asbestos, radioactive elements, textile lint, coal & grain dust, mercury,
and second-hand tobacco smoke...

Helen Keller, after overcoming extreme personal adversity, studied the leading causes
of blindness for the demographics of her time. The poor & the working classes suffered
exponentially high rates due to a variety of environmental and socio-political reasons.
The gist of her argument was that something could be done to change those conditions
such that fewer people would suffer. She was widely denounced by the powers that be
for being too radical.

Musicians face situations that they often cannot control, especially when relying upon
constant exposure to venue-related, toxic environs. Smoke-free clubs, a very recent
phenomena, are quite welcomed by many of us for reasons other than surface concerns.
Sure, I hate the stink it puts in my hair and clothing. But I fear the hurt it puts on my
heart and lungs. I've survived two heart attacks with little long-term effect. I'm not
anxious to test the Rule of Three.

Exposure to sound pressure levels, either acute or chronic, that damages and diminishes
one's hearing is serious. It gets downplayed because, unlike macular degeneration of eyesight,
it's not immediately noticeable to its victim...Xerox toner phenomena (or frog-in-pot-of-water-brought-slowly-to-boil).
And, the demographic hits hardest at the young...the folks who tend to think they are bullet-proof.

Industrial noise damage is rampant in industries that exploit laborers desperate for work.
Next time you see roving landscaping crews, count how many of those running leaf blowers
are actually provided with ear plugs....

Musicians should take a cue from Helen Keller. The damage is not fickle in its
distribution...it hits hardest at those who have little choice and those who think
the choice is irrelevant or a matter of personal style.

Our band has had its share of arguments about stage volume. In the past 15 years
we've worked with our share of stone-deaf sound people. We once walked off a stage
at a large, outdoor event because the stage monitor volume made us all feel as if we
had ice picks tickling our ear drums. They did get it right and we came back to audience

When you have the power to make a sane choice, make it.
And be grateful that your paycheck and your family's survival doesn't
hinge on you bartering off body parts and functions to put food on the table.


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