Re: Loud enough??

Subject: Re: Loud enough??
From: Alexandra Hettergott (
Date: Tue Mar 02 1999 - 05:41:14 EST

-- Interesting yet sad discussion lots of audiologists are concerned with for years
(developing hearing aids did become a flourishing branch in recent years).
For my modest part I can only say that I literally get sick when exposed to very high
levels -- this might yet be a stress-caused result of my being aware of unrecoverable
damages in hair cells ...
The question is if we really "feel such a strong desire to 'crank up the volume'", as
Bret Battey wrote; I realize that this question in any case does strongly depend on
the *technical* possibility to raise volume over "natural" levels (in an ordinary
symphony orchestra, e.g., while performing a Mahler symphony, the volumes do also
well exceed the 110 dB, but of course only for intermediate peak levels (yet acoustic
music instrumentalists do also suffer from hearing losses after years playing in an
orchestra, which is also a consequence of placement, e.g., in front of the brass));
maybe this goes along with losing a "natural measure" of what is too loud. (A
parallel might be found in food/eating habits, where a "natural feeling" of what
might be enough/reasonable in terms of calories often seems to being lost in the
today society.)
Yet is this really a question of aesthetics, or merely resulting from the ususal
tendency of "higher-faster-louder"; and is it of "Western" origin, for East Asian
Music originally did provide more "white" silent areas in music as well as in
painting, and if Eastern Music does change today in the direction of a loud "ideal",
is this due to the Western influence?
In any case it is certainly important to keep the youth aware of those problems; and
it might be worth supporting aesthetic developments which do not solely depend on the
pushing up of volume levels.
Alexandra Hettergott.

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