The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


As almost none of you know, I have a slight hearing loss in my right ear. It's been a constant reminder that I should have plugged some cotton in my ears when engaging in small arms practice on the fantail. And that I should've made sure the forward gun mount was not about to fire as I stepped through the door to the port wing of the bridge. I did neither of these and exacerbated the very slight hearing problem I had when entering service. As I read the following article, I recognized a number of things I deal with each day.

Could Hearing Loss and Dementia be Related?

This response from the interviewee interested me...

What happens is that you can’t really hear what the other person is saying and so you’re grasping for straws and basically trying to direct conversation in a way where you’ll be able to predict the answers.

But also this...

Stadiums deliberately amp up the noise. Restaurants deliberately amp up the noise.

Stadiums ramping up the noise I can understand but restaurants? I wouldn't think so. However, I have noticed the noise level in restaurants has increased quite a bit over the years. I believe that is the result of restauranteurs creating a more "open space" atmosphere and reducing/removing barriers between tables coupled with less sound absorbing materials (carpeting, drapes, etc.) being used. As hearing loss (in my case, quite mild but coupled with a mild tinnitus in the "bad" ear) increases, what was once barely noticed background noise becomes more prominent and mixed in with whatever conversation might be taking place. I have found that it is not the loudness that bothers me so much as the cacophony effect. Sound becomes chaotic, conversations get mixed in with the ambient noise of a room, and my ability to discern words and phrases weakens.

My father had some hearing loss in his left ear and, as mine is in the right ear, this made conversation difficult in a car when I was driving. I also began to realize the restaurant noise problem when my father asked (most plaintively) me to take him home from a family outing to an I-Hop before his meal had arrived. The noise caused him confusion and increased his anxiety.

Since I have a "good" ear as well as a "bad ear" I find myself trying to use the "good" ear in conversations. And I try to do that in an unnoticeable way (think of it as "turning an undeaf ear")or I think I do. But turning one's head to the right during a conversation can be distracting to the other participant so I am sure it is noticeable.

I find TV to be increasingly troublesome. The background noise (including music intended to heighten whatever emotion the viewer should be feeling) tends to overwhelm and dialogue is lost. I find myself filling in dialogue... some of which may not be what was actually said.

It's especially troubling since I recall being able to discern words on the radio even with the volume so low that others thought it was muted or turned down completely.


Tom Sightings said...

I too have noticed that the background noise has become more bothersome as I've gotten older. But I don't think my real problem is in the ears; its between my ears.

Douglas said...

Tom, maybe the aging brain loses the ability to differentiate sounds. This could explain why youth likes Rap and the elders do not.