My apologies for the repetitions in this post. I’m in the process of correcting it.
Click the video above for 2 minutes of background waves while reading.
I like walking on the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.
Hearing the sounds of the sea as I walk is relaxing. The sequence of the swell at the start of the breaking waves to the clap of the crest’s splash to the shoosh gently fading away. I even hear the popping of the tiny bubbles as water caresses my feet.
That sound is repetitive and constant while dominating the beach’s soundscape – but both similar and different with each passing day.
Hearing – the only sense relying on vibrations. The shell of our outer ear capturing the sound waves of the sea and then directs those waves that we don’t yet hear to the eardrum causing it to vibrate. The vibrating eardrum then causes the three bones of the middle ear to vibrate – yet we still do not hear at this point.
The vibrating bones cause another membrane to vibrate – which causes inner ear fluid to vibrate – then nerve endings specialized to a particular wavelength of sound detect the vibrations – yet we do not hear.
Nerves carry the detected messages to a specialized section in the brain that puts all the messages together. Ahhhh – now I hear the sounds of the sea that I enjoy.
I think of the classic holiday song because we apply our perspective into interpreting sounds. Do you know Do You Hear What I Hear? What one person enjoys, another may not. But no matter the song or composition, it starts with the music. Music stirs a wide range of emotions that starts with what we hear.
Each of us reacts differently to sounds. The booms of fireworks excite some – but frighten others – and even terrify some pets. The roars of a large waterfall provide a sense of awe while also warning us of its power.
Without hearing, sound is silent to the listener. The listener does not hear the emotions of music. The listener does not experience nature’s sounds. The listener cannot differentiate the soundscapes of the beach, the stream, the woods, and the meadow.
They do not hear the words of love, encouragement, support, enthusiasm, and wisdom. They do not hear the voice that gives one peace. On the plus side, they are protected from the political noise of partisan bickering, personal slander, and consistent vitriol.
I think of the animals in nature whose hearing mechanism is like ours – yet some are acutely more sensitive for protective purposes. Dogs have nerve endings for detecting frequencies beyond our upper range, so they painfully hear the dog whistle that we cannot hear. Deer can detect a slight rustling of the ground caused by a seemingly quiet step by a human in the distance.
Hearing isn’t the same as listening. Some may say listening is sophisticated hearing. Listening is mindful attention to what is said. Listening is focusing on the spoken words, not on what to say in response. Listening is something we give someone – respect – a gift that connects us to others. There is also the aspect of wanting to be heard as opposed to listening to others.
Listening stimulates thinking – listening makes a person better – listening leads us to a great understanding – listening connects humanity – listening joins us with nature as we concentrate on the natural sounds while trying to apply meaning.
Regular sounds reassure our existence. We know what to expect in certain places and settings. However, when we listen, we not only hear the depth of different sounds, we can also detect the sounds that are not normal – those that do not belong – those carrying a message that something is different or has changed. It could be a sign of something is wrong – even simply an addition or something missing.
But, some people favor being heard or hearing their voice. Then again, maybe they prefer telling over listening.
Hearing – a sense that we value – yet take for granted. Does listening to loud music through headphones at a high volume demonstrate a greater value one has for music than hearing? But what did I know then – or did I not listen to wisdom? Is this a reason for my hearing aids today? Then again, there is also an aging factor.
I have a choice when I walk. I can hear the wind or I can listen to it. Thinking about what the wind is saying helps the mind wander and wonder. Listening and thinking helps turn the sounds of the beach into an inner peace – a bliss. After all, I like walking on the beach because it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.
See what other bloggers have written about hearing
- Auditory processing (essay)
- My deafness (essay)
- How to talk to your aging parent about hearing loss (essay)
- How autistic people hear the world (essay)
- When seeing is hearing (essay)
Next Post: Smell – Thursday 8 April @ 1 AM (Eastern US)
Follow Beach Walk Reflections
- Facebook (BeachWalk Reflections)
- Instagram (BeachWalk Reflections)
- Twitter (@ReflectionsWalk)
- WordPress (Follow or Subscribe