Well, this month (February 2017) marks the 100th year anniversary of Jazz, and I must admit, that from time to time, I still don’t get it. I frequently look in awe at those around me who are listening to what I am thinking is a mere cacophony of sound and they seem to be hearing something different than me. It’s almost as if they have a special sense and that I am jazz-impaired. Having said this, I am not a complete nerd (well, maybe 62% nerd) and I do enjoy many forms of jazz, especially Dixieland, but when it comes to a Schoenberg-like atonal jazz, I usually excuse myself and go to the bathroom.

Nevertheless, February 1917 marked the first recorded jazz concert ever given.  Actually it was February 26, 1917!

Courtesy of KRMJAZZ.COM

About a year ago, I was chatting with Bethany Bultman and Dan Beck at a Performing Arts Medicine Association conference in New York City where the three of us were conveying what we knew about hearing loss and its prevention from overly high levels of music exposure. Bethany Bultman is the Co-founding Director of the New Orleans Musicians Clinic and Assistance Foundation. She is a cultural anthropologist by training who is the author of six books ranging in topics from the ethno cultural history of the Gulf South to the culinary history of New Orleans. Dan Beck, is a Trustee of the Music Industries Music Performance Trust Fund, providing free, live music in schools, hospitals, senior centers, and other public venues. Beck is a long-time entertainment marketing executive, developing strategic plans for many major recording artists. He has been active in hearing conservation as the producer of the “Listen Smart” educational film and as a Board member of H.E.A.R. (Hearing Education & Awareness for Rockers).

Bethany Bultman

We thought that a wider audience would appreciate some of the insights so over a cup of tea (actually I don’t really remember – it may have been something stronger, like coffee or…) we hatched the idea of comparing what hearing healthcare would have been like in 1917 versus how it is today. The three of us are guest co-editors of this month’s issue of Hearing Review.  In this issue we asked a group of people to compare what their particular area looked like in 1917 versus today. This included an article by an otolaryngologist (Dr. Ken Einhorn) who spoke about the ubiquitous prevalence of serous otitis media in the general population of 1917, an article by an audiologist (Dr. Patty Johnston) about hearing protection in 1917 versus today, and even an article by a noise control specialist (Dr. Mark Stephenson) about noise control regulations, or lack of, in 1917 versus that of today. And along the way, the reader is provided with other, both historical and current articles, about hearing loss and its prevention over the years.

Dan Beck

My goal is not to have people click away from HearingHealthMatters.org but in this case, this issue of Hearing Review, in my humble and tone deaf opinion, is worth the journey away from here…. But remember to click back here for the other many weekly contributions of the other editors of HearingHealthMatters.org.



Being Canadian, we tend to be more subtle in our self-promotion.  It’s true that we invented penicillin, time zones, insulin, put the first person on the moon, and of course, the internet.  But sometimes being subtle goes right past a person!

So please forgive me (I’m being Canadian, eh?) but HearingHealthMatters.org has just published a wonderful new e-book that I edited.  It is called “Music to Your Ears:  hearing aids, music, and musicians” and can be purchased through the HearingHealthMatters.org website (along with another e-book on PSAPS and one on the history of a large North American retailer).  The original title was “What I did in October” but I suspect that the Music to Your Ears title is slightly better, albeit less descriptive of the amount of work that went into it.

 This e-book is made up of many of the blog entries from Hear the Music over the last thousand years (as well as 10 other blog entry contributions) and to make the reading easier, I have divided the book up into 9 sections.


1. Music and hearing loss

2. The acoustics of music

3. Room acoustics and reverberation effects

4. Hearing aids and music

5. In-ear monitors

6. Musicians’ hearing protection

7. Consumer issues

8. Some notable notables

9. Encore i Finale

“Music to your ears” is an overview of those features that touch upon the acoustic care and feeding of musicians, or those, like me who are less talented and who just like to listen to music. Contributions have been made by a group of dedicated people with the goal of improving listenability and safe listening. This may be for hard of hearing children who are about to select their first musical instruments, or about a 20s something rocker who need to understand the more subtle points in choosing hearing protection or in-ear monitors.

This e-book has nine sections and can be read in any order, with as many items in each section as the reader wants to use. It can be used as a supplement in any university or college course on noise control, or even as part of a music program. Or it could be read with a cup of tea while having one’s feet propped up against the cushions in front of a roaring fire (or air conditioner in summer).

Each section of the e-book has a number of posts, all written with the reader in mind, and balancing scientific fact, humor, and clinical gems making this a very readable and smoothly flowing book.

Like most areas of study, the scientific principles can be used in other, seemingly unrelated areas. While this is a book about music, musical instrument and its effects, the acoustic principles can be applied to the human vocal tract, the acoustics of a classroom, and even the design of a concert hall. And many of the technologies can extend beyond the musician or listening to music, to populations such as the military, and those suffering from post-concussion syndrome.