by Dennis

Sound. The dictionary defines it as: “1) vibrations in air, water, etc. that stimulate the auditory nerves and produce the sensation of hearing. 2) Any auditory sensation produced by such vibrations. 3) Any auditory effect that is distinctive or characteristic of its source.” Thus you never hear the doorbell chime, the thunder clap, a tree falling in the forest. You hear the resulting vibrations set in the air by its motion. The process of hearing with the eardrum and the hammer, anvil and stirrup is much too complicated for me to get into or even understand.

So last week at our meeting the issue of hearing was addressed. A sound system was brought in (no doubt at some considerable expense to whomever provided it) to accommodate my needs.

Which brings me to another matter – translation and interpretation. Your vocal chords cause the air to vibrate, which in turn cause the diaphragm in the microphone to make short and sudden contacts within the mike that sends an electrical signal, which translates into electrical energy that is sent down the cable to the speaker, which after being duly amplified to the volume level of your choice sets the speaker in motion, which interprets these electrical impulses causing vibrations in the air, which you capture with your ear. And Son of a Gun, it sounds just like he or she was speaking to you and you alone. Beats me how it works, but this is what you get when you invite a hard-of-hearing, thirty year vet from the telephone company into your midst.

You know two tin cans and string would work as well, but it gets awful messy with all that string around the globe.

The other senses fascinate, bewilder, and intrigue me as well. Sight, taste, smell and touch. All so marvelous and baffling in their complexity, yet taken for granted as if we have been using since we were children. But for now I’ll just ponder sound, in its abundance or diminished state. That’s enough for this lifetime. The others can be dealt with at another time.

July, 2012

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