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!
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).
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.
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.