Posted by: seanoldblog | 2011/04/01


For many years I played almost every night – sometimes two and three events in a day – with a bar band from Vermont.  Quite a few of them, actually, but one band in particular called Zero Gravity was my main gig.

It was a damned good band, and we played a well-balanced combination of original music and recognizable songs by other artists – or lesser-known songs by recognizable artists, but that we loved.  Even the covers we did had our own original stamp.  This was not a Long Island wedding band.  [Not that there’s anything wrong with that…]

Wherever we played there seemed to be a field of dancing people as far as the eye could see.  In order to really drive the bus and make that happen, the drummer had to be strong.  We had some damned good drummers in the band.  I was always reluctant to take a leading role as a vocalist or frontman, so my place, both physically and in the hierarchy was back there next to the drummer grinding out a serious groove.

This was profoundly satisfying, especially when the groove was on.

This also caused permanent hearing loss and a steady ringing in the ears.

I was tested in 1993 or so and had a significant loss in the 4 kHz range in both ears.  The right side [the one closest to the ride cymbal…] had a flat line from there on up, while the left ear returned to normal for the upper frequencies.

I was tested again a couple weeks ago at New York Speech and Hearing.

The good news: those numbers didn’t get worse.

The bad news: they didn’t get better either.

There’s no need to describe the importance of healthy hearing in what I do for a living.  It is with this in mind that I feel compelled to describe what a wonderful experience I had at NYS&H.

Dr. Heche is a performer herself and has both a passion and a thorough understanding of the whole experience from both sides of the equation.

Generally, I am extremely skeptical of most Western medicine for so many reasons.  Too many specialists, too much hierarchy and bureaucracy [departments that don’t communicate], and way too much pressure from pharmaceutical lobbies and insurance mafias.  Profits-before-people seems the rule not the exception.

There is so much conflicting information in this country about how to keep yourself healthy that the issue almost becomes as divisive as partisan politics.  And guess what?  ‘Divide and conquer’ is an ancient concept, proven over and over even today to keep a population weak and controllable.  We’re still in the Dark Ages in so many regards.

That said, the science and technology of medicine grows exponentially every day.  Research yields amazing results.  There are healers out there who really make use of all this and do a bang up job of improving people’s lives.

Melissa Heche is one of those people, and NYS&H is a little oasis in the world.  I was amazed at how thorough her questions were at the initial consultation.  She seems to understand that it is indeed a cause-and-effect universe and everything we do affects everything else we do.

She fitted me for a set of ‘Musician’s Earplugs‘ with a 25db reduction.  I’ve been using HearOs which claim to have a 33db rating.  They help in the noisy city and transportation systems, but I can’t play with them.  Everything is dull and lifeless.  The plugs she gave me have a much more even response – I can clearly understand conversation and nuances of music when they’re in.

They also offer in-ear monitor systems.  I’ll be going in for those next.

Bottom line, I highly recommend all of my musician friends and colleagues [that would be about 98% of you…] to give her a visit.  Could make a big difference in the long run.

Oh, and for those of you who don’t know about this book yet – get a copy of “This Is Your Brain On Music” by Daniel Levitin.  It lays out the mechanics of hearing and sound perception better than anything yet and it’s a fun read.

To your health,




  1. Good advice, good info, and good news! I’ll be visiting Dr. Heche when I return to NYC and I’m VERY excited about the in-ear monitor system. That would save me a whole lotta trouble getting things right on stage with my vocals up and over the horns and that wailing rhythm section you guys are drivin’! Thanks for posting this! XO T

  2. Oh yeah… I read “This Is Your Brain On Music” last year and devoured it! What an awesome book! Another great recommendation. Thanks, Sean!

  3. […] with Alex and Steve and I.  Daryl Glen had me in the studio for a few tracks.  Melissa Heche [see Ears] did her show at Triad, this time with Skip Ward on bass along with the rest of the great band from […]

  4. […] with Alex and Steve and I.  Daryl Glen had me in the studio for a few tracks.  Melissa Heche [see Ears] did her show at Triad, this time with Skip Ward on bass along with the rest of the great band from […]

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