Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Hearing, Chanting, Remembering

There is more to hearing than the physical act itself in the context of the nine processes of devotional service. For example, reading sastra may be considered hearing. A deaf person may "hear" thru closed captioning or sign language. The idea of receiving information is the key element. Still, a very convenient way to hear is thru the physical ears.

In the modern age, physical hearing has moved beyond the oral methods of parent to child, teacher to student, or story telling that are so honored in tradition. These methods have been leveraged out, or even replaced, by technology. ISKCON and its offshoots have embraced these new technologies. There were the reel to reel recordings, the tape cassette, the CD, the DVD, then the MP3 players and currently the iPod and its imitators which play a wide variety of digital formats. Lectures, devotional music, and podcasts are now routinely available on devotee websites for download, and even initial recordings of classes and kirtans are being done with the iPod as the recording device.

I am certainly not going to go Luddite about all this (Queen Kunti never listened to an iPod), but there is at least one down side iPod users should be aware of:

'Ear bud' headphones can cause hearing loss, experts warn (complete article)

" "We're seeing the kind of hearing loss in younger people that's typically found in aging adults,'' said Dean Garstecki, an audiologist and professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

The big culprits aren't the devices themselves, but the tiny "ear bud'' style headphones that the music players use. "Unfortunately, the earbuds are even more likely to cause hearing loss than the muff-type earphones that were used on Walkman and portable CD players,'' Garstecki said..."


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