BY REBECCA PALMER
Rebecca enjoys rock climbing indoors and in Utah’s canyons, yoga and Zumba classes and gourmet cooking. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Weber State University in Ogden.
This edition’s focus on hearing health offers me a chance to explain why, and to encourage you to do the same.
During symphony concerts when I am on stage right in front of the brass section, for example, they make me a much happier musician. Just remember the “O Fortuna” chorus of “Carmina Burana” and you’ll understand.
Live music festivals are another example: I can only enjoy The Smashing Pumpkins if my head isn’t throbbing and my ears aren’t wringing.
It’s not all for short-term gain, however.
Instead, every time I feel my body shake from music that’s too loud, I remember my late grandfather Paul Harris.
He spent much of his life singing in a barbershop quartet, and enjoyed it immensely. I am lucky enough to have a few old recordings on cassette tape.
He also played violin and viola with the symphony at Utah State University, and passed his beautiful instrument from soviet-era Prague on to me.
But I never heard him play, and I never heard him sing. In fact, he couldn’t even listen to me play, and it was because of a lack of hearing protection.
In addition to his musical pursuits, my grandfather worked on an old-fashioned offset press for years and spent time around many kinds of noisy machinery – never with ear protection.
By the time I came around, music sounded like cacophony to him and the hearing aids of the time could only help a little.
It is my worst nightmare to have the same thing happen to me.
Music is my therapy and my love, and I would hate to lose it. But even more importantly, if my hearing were damaged, I wouldn’t do my job well. I would be more likely to misunderstand people, more likely to miss quiet statements and much less able to communicate over the phone.
Feeling my bones quake to the bass just isn’t worth taking the chance.
In this edition, we report about how local doctors are seeing and increasing number of young people who suffer from hearing loss.
One of our contributors also writes about tinnitus, and explains the many ways it can occur.
Yet another health professional said that hearing health is among the many benefits of exercise.
After we shot some beautiful photos of a Latin dance class in Kaysville, we were also inspired to write about the health benefits of bopping to the beat (even if doing so requires ear protection).
Furthermore, this time of year offers a great chance to write about light: it’s well known that sun damage can cause cancer, but we offer tips on using sunless tanners and report on studies about the potential benefits of UV-free light therapy.
Depending on how close you get to fireworks and live music this summer, however, we hope you keep the health of your ears in mind.
At less than fifty cents a pair and a few ounces each, you might look into getting some of those foam earplugs for yourself.