April 21, 2024
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April 21, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

It seems as though more and more people are suffering from hearing loss. It is possible it has something to do with aging, but recently it has been brought to our attention that many young people are finding it difficult to hear as well. We are super sensitive to this phenomenon, since over the past 10 years Mordechai has lost complete hearing in his left ear and partial hearing in his right ear. We were told that his original hearing loss was the result of a virus that within two weeks drained him of total hearing in one ear.

As a result of that it has become extraordinarily difficult for him to participate in a discussion with a group as he cannot tell where sound comes from and is never able to discern in which direction he should be looking when his name is called. As a psychology professor in Champlain College in Montreal he would always inform his students on the first day of class that they needed to raise their hands when they wanted to comment on something as he had no way of knowing who was speaking. Upon arriving into our home, Nina always yells and informs him of which room she is in because otherwise he would have no way of knowing.

It is for that reason—because we live with this tremendous challenge each day of our lives—that we need to share our total frustration at the noise level of the bands that play at Jewish weddings. Each one of us is taking a chance, while attending these celebrations, that our hearing will become more and more impaired by the blasting brutal sound being transmitted over loudspeakers all over the hall. It is hard to find a person who does not complain about the noise. Conversation is out of the question at any simcha because it is impossible to compete with the outrageous screeching coming from the musicians. Truly, this is not really music. It has almost become a contest as to who can play louder than the next. If a band is asked to “tone it down” they respond by saying either that “this is what they are paid to do” or “if they make it too low it will spoil their reputation in the market.” Please, someone explain to us: who really likes this blaring of sounds? More and more people are walking around wearing ear plugs. In our case, Mordechai now keeps a pair in each one of his suit pockets “just in case.” Fortunately, a few people have seen the light and now provide headsets for infants attending a simcha in order to prevent them from being exposed to this danger. In our area we are lucky to have a gemach that does nothing but provide such devices for young children and infants. Perhaps it is time to provide similar paraphernalia for adults. Notice the next time you are at a simcha that the band members are all wearing ear plugs; the photographers are wearing them as well. Who can blame them? Believe us that hearing loss truly impacts every day and moment of your life. It has caused much pain to a major part of our everyday existence. It prevents us from being comfortable in a group, and eating in a restaurant is not a pleasant experience when there is a great deal of noise.

What really bothers us is that everyone complains but no one seems to do anything about it when it is their own simcha. We remember our wedding being very lebedik with the Mark Four Orchestra performing (a long time ago). No one left the wedding fearing that they might have lost their hearing. We implore everyone who is about to make a wedding to think carefully about what orchestra they choose and yes, as the people paying the bills, the baal simcha does have a right to insist that the music be played at a reasonable tone or the band will not be paid. If this is not the case, we think that eventually, with the exception of the young people dancing it up, one might as well serve the dinner outside of the main hall because that is usually where you will find most of the guests mingling with each other because they cannot stand the noise. There has to be a solution to this situation and hopefully it will be found before we all lose our hearing. Who is going to be brave enough to encourage the musicians at their next simcha to keep the tones to a more normal decibel? We who are affected by hearing loss are warning those of you who are blessed to hear well that by allowing these musicians to blast away as they do you are being put at great risk for losing your hearing. Don’t chance it; speak up now.

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

 Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick are living in Bergenfield after many years of service to the Montreal Jewish community. Rabbi Glick was the rav of Congregation Ahavat Yisroel as well as a practicing clinical psychologist in private practice. He also taught at Champlain Regional College. The Glicks were frequent speakers at the OU marriage retreats. Nina coordinated all Yachad activities in Montreal and was a co/founder of Maison Shalom, a group home for young adults with special needs. They can be reached at [email protected].

 

 

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