Get to the Forest!

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”trail-to-graveyard.jpg

This picture was taken at Harper’s Ferry in 2006. It doesn’t exactly show a forest that is isolated like I believe this riddle alludes too, but it is “Kodak evidence” of how fond I am of forests.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Don’t you love a great riddle? This has always been one of my favorites as it causes me to “wax philosophical”. Is sound only sound if a person is around to hear it?

My first reaction is that OF COURSE a falling tree makes a noise when it falls, irregardless of whether or not a person is around when it happens! In a forest, trees are usually densely packed with only the occasional trail towards a water source, created by “forest dwelling mammals”. Can you picture a large tree in a forest suddenly beginning its descent towards earth? No one is around to holler, “TIMMM-BERRRR!” (I had to scratch my head and ponder on that awhile! Why shout “Timber!” when a falling “timber” begins to fall? Why not yell, “Look out! Move back! HEADS UP! Sorry I digress…)

It very likely snaps and pops, creating echoes of noise that reverberate through the forest. Nearby trees lose their own branches and twigs as the tree makes it way down, Down, DOWN. They shudder and groan as the descending tree makes contact with them, and seem to almost respond to the original noise by snapping and popping as well. The tree picks up speed as it nears its resting place, and the ground shakes in percussion as final contact is made. A great deal of noise was made in this process. Had I been standing there watching it happen, the noise would have been no different had I been at home in my recliner watching FOX news. I could have even set up a camera to catch all the action and noise. Yet no more or less noise was made when it fell.

Things That Make Me Go, “Hmmmm… ”

I think that this is important. If NO ONE IS THERE TO HEAR THE NOISE, then NO SOUND WAS HEARD. Many things can make a noise, but only ears hear sound. Therefore, if no one was around when that tree fell in the forest, no sound was heard! (Are you scratching your head in confusion yet?)

Stick with me here!

Do you know that when people with hearing loss advocate for themselves or others, they can make NOISE or they can make SOUND? Noise is usually made by people who have simply “had it” with the hearing world. These folks are angry, bitter, and believe change cannot and will not happen. Their noise is ignored by people with normal hearing, or worse yet… it is only acknowledged if that person decides they need to step out of the way of that NOISY, FALLING tree!

These noisy people refuse to call their Congressman when HLAA, ALDA or other organizations put out a plea to “make yourself heard”. Cell phone compatibility, accurate captioning, and hearing aid tax credits are just a few things that I have been urged to voice my opinion about to my own government officials in recent years. They belly-ache and groan about how hard life is when you have a hearing loss. They don’t really like to be with groups of others with hearing loss as they may find people who are coping just fine. They don’t want to reach out to someone new with hearing loss, because THEY want to make noise… not listen to others! They grumble, gripe, groan and belly-ache… keeping Pepto-Bismol in business.

They choose to criticize hearing loss organizations who are busy trying to get them to “make themselves heard”. They act as if the power of combined sound is in the Board of Trustees instead of the members who make up the organization. They completely miss the point that if they join others who step up to advocate in a positive way, their combined “noise” swells into an orchestra of purposeful sound that crescendos and echoes it’s way across America.

When we advocate in a positive way we do more than make noise. Our sound is heard. It may still be ignored, or it may be that they think it is only the sound of ONE tree. That’s why it’s important to be around other trees; to be around others with hearing loss. We observe, we learn, we support and educate. We learn to be pro-active, and learn to do more than make noise. We learn to make a sound that is HEARD.

Get to the forest! Let’s make some sound!

Denise Portis
©2008 Hearing Loss Diary

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