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<v Voice off-screen>Joel, come on, you're going to miss your plane. <v Joel Grey>Coming. Hi, I'm Joel Grey. <v Joel Grey>Was that fun? Something I've always dreamed about. <v Joel Grey>Conducting the ninth at the Kennedy Center. <v Joel Grey>Now, whether I'm performing or attending a concert here, I'm always struck by the <v Joel Grey>importance of sound in this great building with its surrounding halls. <v Joel Grey>They were designed specifically to heighten the power and beauty of sound. <v Voice off-screen>Joel! <v Joel Grey>Coming. <v Joel Grey>As a matter of fact, all the materials that went into the construction of the Kennedy <v Joel Grey>Center were chosen especially for their acoustic characteristics. <v Joel Grey>The seats, the carpeting, even the crystal chandeliers were specifically <v Joel Grey>designed to meet the highest standards of frequency response and sound diffusion.
<v Voice off-screen>Your ticket to San Francisco. <v Joel Grey>This extreme focus on sound is just one indication that the existence of our culture <v Joel Grey>depends on the existence of sound. <v Joel Grey>Whether it be the sound of my voice, a symphony orchestra, <v Joel Grey>or noise. <v Joel Grey>Another indication that sound is an essential part of our lives, no matter <v Joel Grey>who we are, where we are or what we do. <v Joel Grey>Goodbye, everybody. <v Orchestra Crew>Bye bye. <v Joel Grey>See you next Tuesday. <v Joel Grey>The very quality of our lives depends so much upon the phenomenon <v Joel Grey>of sound and our ability to hear it. <v Music>[Someone playing lively piano tune, no song title given.]
<v Joel Grey>Today, sound can be played in ways we never thought possible, we can <v Joel Grey>equalize it. Mix it, squeeze it, digitize it. <v Joel Grey>We can drive it to higher peaks of intensity and greater levels of quality than ever <v Joel Grey>before. <v Music>[Piano tune resumes]. <v Joel Grey>But do you realize while you listen to all this, a process far more complicated <v Joel Grey>is going on inside your head? <v Joel Grey>And that's the process of hearing. <v Joel Grey>People too come equipped with a sound system. <v Joel Grey>An integrated set of components, which is far more wondrous and actually <v Joel Grey>much more sophisticated than all this equipment.
<v Joel Grey>What's wrong? <v Sound mixer>All the tapes. Hang on. Could we hear that? I registered one more time, please. <v Sound mixer>Does that sound right to you? <v Sound mixer 2>No, it doesn't. <v Musician>Yeah, it's out of tune. <v Sound mixer 2>Sounds off. <v Joel Grey>Sounds off. <v Sound mixer>How long would it takes to get the piano? <v Sound mixer 2>You gotta call. <v Musician>It's B. B above middle C. <v Sound mixer>Could we take a break? For about an hour? <v Joel Grey>No problem. <v Sound mixer>While you're out, pick us up some sushi? <v Sound mixer>Hang on one sec. <v Joel Grey>But only recently have we really begun to understand the process <v Joel Grey>of hearing. <v Joel Grey>George, it's on me. <v Joel Grey>Today, we still know far more about how we see than we do about how <v Joel Grey>we hear. Why is it we know so little about something <v Joel Grey>so important? <v Joel Grey>Maybe it's because we take sound for granted. <v Joel Grey>Until we lose our ability to hear, that's when we really discover the magic
<v Joel Grey>and importance of sound. <v Joel Grey>You see, sound is what helps you stay in touch with the world. <v Joel Grey>Your sense of hearing is what keeps you tuned to the music of life. <v Joel Grey>You see, the ear is a bridge between us and the world, <v Joel Grey>delivering a constant stream of sound messages to the brain. <v Joel Grey>And isn't it ironic that we seldom give even a passing thought to <v Joel Grey>the multitude of sounds that structure our lives day after day? <v Music>[Saxaphonist playing on the street, sounds from the city accompanying the music.]
<v Joel Grey>The sounds of our world have always been important to our lives, especially <v Joel Grey>in the beginning. Primitive man depended on sound for survival. <v Joel Grey>You know, the ear is your best warning device. <v Joel Grey>To primitive man, the ability to hear was a prime requisite for survival. <v Taxi Driver>Watch it, Tiger. <v Joel Grey>Obviously, it still is. For primitive man, <v Joel Grey>sound was far more important than sight. <v Joel Grey>Both his predators and his prey could be heard long before they could be seen. <v Joel Grey>Sound meant survival. <v Joel Grey>And just as the landscape has changed dramatically since then, so has the soundsscape. <v Joel Grey>The <v Joel Grey>soundscape is the sonic environment of an area. <v Joel Grey>It's made up of events heard rather than seen.
<v Joel Grey>But the tremendous racket of the industrial revolution in full swing, the sound <v Joel Grey>of the modern world was here to stay. <v Joel Grey>The shriek and clatter of machines is still the keynote of our sounds. <v Music>[Jazzy song playing on record player, no song given.] <v Joel Grey>We've always kept things to look at and remind us, remembrances <v Joel Grey>of things past, the records of our lives, but <v Joel Grey>before the late 1800s, it was never possible for us to listen to the past. <v Joel Grey>Sound was always a thing of the present. <v Joel Grey>And so our ancestors who were hard of hearing
<v Joel Grey>used ingenious devices to help them hear that fleeting moment of sound <v Joel Grey>better. Ironically, it was a hearing impaired person that <v Joel Grey>gave us the ability to record and preserve sound capturing <v Joel Grey>and it's been capturing us ever since. <v Joel Grey>But take a look at this guy over here. <v Joel Grey>Strange looking, huh? But it was a machine <v Joel Grey>quite like this that produced the first sound <v Joel Grey>that started it all. <v Old sounding recording>Mary had a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow, and everywhere Mary went the sheep would surely go. <v Joel Grey>Edison's first phonograph was a very scratchy beginning for our fascination with sound <v Joel Grey>technology. <v Joel Grey>For the first time, the sounds of the past and present could be preserved <v Joel Grey>for the future.
<v Music>[Various soundbytes of different recordings.] <v Joel Grey>At this moment, the spacecraft Voyager is carrying the sounds of our world <v Joel Grey>into deep space. <v Joel Grey>A golden disk etched with the sounds of earth and human voices <v Joel Grey>perhaps to be heard one day by extra terrestrial ears. <v Joel Grey>So what exactly is sound? <v Joel Grey>I mean, we know it's everywhere, what we hear in the brook, <v Joel Grey>in the wind, the <v Joel Grey>noise of movement.
<v Joel Grey>Or is sound just a sensation for what we feel and our label for <v Joel Grey>that feeling? <v Joel Grey>For centuries, scholars have argued if a tree falls in the forest <v Joel Grey>and there's no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? <v Joel Grey>Some would argue, of course. <v Joel Grey>Sound is a physical phenomenon. It exists. <v Joel Grey>I mean, whether or not there's anyone there to hear it. <v Joel Grey>Now, others say sound is a sensation. <v Joel Grey>It requires someone to be there to hear it. <v Joel Grey>To sense it. <v Joel Grey>It's up to you. <v Joel Grey>Is it gonna make a sound or not?
<v Joel Grey>Well, there really is no argument because there is no wrong answer. <v Joel Grey>In one view, we're talking about the production of sound and then the other <v Joel Grey>we're speaking of the perception of sound. <v Joel Grey>One is cause the other effect. <v Joel Grey>Both belong in the definition of the word sound. <v Joel Grey>How is sound created? <v Joel Grey>The first requirement is a vibrating object. <v Joel Grey>Vocal chords, a slammed door or a tuning fork. <v Joel Grey>The second requirement is a medium to transmit the effects of <v Joel Grey>vibrations. If we slow down the vibration of the tuning fork, we can see <v Joel Grey>exactly how sound is produced. <v Joel Grey>The medium could be a liquid or a solid, but mostly the sounds we hear are transmitted <v Joel Grey>by the medium of air molecules. <v Joel Grey>As the object vibrates, it pushes repeatedly on the molecules that surround it. <v Joel Grey>Those molecules jostle their neighbors, starting a chain reaction
<v Joel Grey>which courses through the medium as waves of pressure or sound waves like <v Joel Grey>ripples across upon. <v Joel Grey>With the oscilloscope, we can see a visual representation <v Joel Grey>of a soundwave, 2 important characteristics of sound waves <v Joel Grey>are intensity and frequency. <v Joel Grey>The height of the sound wave from the peak to the midpoint indicates the strength <v Joel Grey>or intensity of the vibrating sound source. <v Joel Grey>The heart of the tuning fork pushes against the molecules, the higher the intensity, and <v Joel Grey>the louder the sound. <v Joel Grey>Frequency, the number of vibrations per second, determines the <v Joel Grey>length of the sound wave. <v Joel Grey>Higher the frequency, the shorter the wave, the higher the pitch to the ear. <v Joel Grey>For instance, Middle C produces about 260 vibrations <v Joel Grey>per second. <v Joel Grey>Higher note B, A above middle C vibrates fast.
<v Joel Grey>We perceive as a higher pitch. <v Joel Grey>The higher the frequency, the higher the pitch. <v Joel Grey>Every object has a frequency of its own. <v Joel Grey>You can hear it in the tone of this glass. <v Joel Grey>What do you think that was, Keith? <v Keith>Sounds like E Flat. <v Joel Grey>Exactly. <v Keith>That's my job. <v Joel Grey>Well, we don't have Ella Fitzgerald, but we do have this high frequency compression <v Joel Grey>driver and hopefully enough power to effectively do the job. <v Joel Grey>Now, by matching that frequency E flat, a phenomenon known as sympathetic <v Joel Grey>vibration, can occur, the tone down resonance with that glass. <v Joel Grey>And if the intensity is strong enough, it should shatter. <v Joel Grey>Can you give me any more power, George? <v George>It's flat out. It's at 600 watts. <v Joel Grey>That should do it.
<v Joel Grey>Have you ever wondered what you're really hearing when you press a seashell against your <v Joel Grey>ear? I always did. <v Joel Grey>It's the sound of air molecules bouncing together. <v Joel Grey>See, we live in an ocean of sound, its waves surround us. <v Joel Grey>Sound is created by the elements of our world just <v Joel Grey>like this beach is created from the sand, so the same <v Joel Grey>physical laws which govern us, govern sound. <v Joel Grey>Sound will react very specific ways depending <v Joel Grey>on the environment. Let me show you. <v Joel Grey>Look how sound waves can be reflected by a solid barrier. <v Joel Grey>If they're reflected back to their original source. <v Joel Grey>The result is an echo. <v Joel Grey>Because of reflection, a bandshell can amplify and direct the sound waves toward the <v Joel Grey>audience. <v Joel Grey>Just like visible light waves, sound waves can be bent or refracted as <v Joel Grey>they pass from one medium to another or from one temperature level to another.
<v Joel Grey>Under certain conditions, sound can actually turn a corner. <v Joel Grey>This effect is called diffraction. <v Joel Grey>By using the edge of a barrier as a focal point, a new series of sound waves are <v Joel Grey>generated with a level and frequency that's almost identical to the original. <v Joel Grey>That's why a door that's open just slightly will let in almost as much sound as a fully <v Joel Grey>open. <v Sound mixer 2>We're trying to get a balance could you close the door, sir? <v Joel Grey>Sorry. <v Joel Grey>So now we know what sound is. <v Joel Grey>How do we hear it? <v Joel Grey>Actually, we don't. What we're doing is feeling it. <v Joel Grey>Our ears are designed to feel the sound waves, then amplify and transmit the sensation <v Joel Grey>to the brain. So your sense of hearing is really a tactile sense. <v Joel Grey>The human ear. <v Joel Grey>The perfect stereo receiver housed in an area of less <v Joel Grey>than one cubic inch.
<v Joel Grey>The workings of the ear is one of the most complex mysteries in all <v Joel Grey>of nature. <v Joel Grey>The ear is a transformer, changing the physical pressure of sound waves <v Joel Grey>into distinct electrical impulses. <v Joel Grey>The ear is made up of 3 components. <v Joel Grey>The outer, middle and inner ear. <v Joel Grey>The visible part of the year is the least important. <v Joel Grey>It's just a catch for the sound waves. <v Joel Grey>Your sense of hearing really begins with the ear drum. <v Joel Grey>The sound waves strike the thin membrane of the eardrum and set it vibrating. <v Joel Grey>Then the eardrum passes the vibrations onto the 3 small bones in
<v Joel Grey>the middle ear, the hammer, anvil and stirrup. <v Joel Grey>They work together as a lever system, amplifying the sound waves. <v Joel Grey>Even more. <v Joel Grey>The stirrup is attached to a soft membrane called the oval window <v Joel Grey>at the beginning of the inner ear, called the cochlea. <v Joel Grey>Inside the snail-like cochlea are 3 chambers filled <v Joel Grey>with fluid. the middle chamber contains Corti's organ. <v Joel Grey>As the stirrup strikes the oval window, the sound waves are transformed <v Joel Grey>into waves of hydraulic pressure, which course through the fluid filled <v Joel Grey>chambers, Corti's organ flexes a membrane which is covered <v Joel Grey>with thousands of tiny hair bundles. <v Joel Grey>Each hair bundle responds to a specific frequency and creates just <v Joel Grey>the right electrical signal for that frequency. <v Joel Grey>The action of the hair bundles send electrical signals up the auditory nerve to the
<v Joel Grey>brain. <v Joel Grey>The ear is a remarkably efficient communication system. <v Non-Dialog Sound>[Various phone operators speaking into their receivers and microphones.]. <v Joel Grey>To <v Joel Grey>build a device that could do the job of a single ear, the phone company would <v Joel Grey>need encoders, decoders, microwave transmitters, a hydraulic balance system <v Joel Grey>and switchboards of every size and description. <v Non-Dialog Sound>[Various phone operators speaking into their recievers and microphones.] <v Joel Grey>It would need the capacity of a phone system for a city of a half a million <v Joel Grey>and would have to be compressed into a space less than the size of a quarter. <v Joel Grey>How important are your ears? <v Joel Grey>Well, let's take a simple task, like making a call. <v Joel Grey>Just to place this call, I'll follow <v Joel Grey>a series of sound cues that tell me exactly what to do and when to do
<v Joel Grey>it. <v Phone dial voice>The number you have reached is not in service at this time, and there is no new number, <v Phone dial voice>please be sure you check the telephone. <v Joel Grey>That's just one simple task. <v Joel Grey>Think of all the others we do every day, which require us to receive and comprehend <v Joel Grey>countless sound messages, and if your hearing is out of order, you know, <v Joel Grey>needs servicing these simple tasks can become very difficult. <v Joel Grey>The human ear is well protected, but it can become defective in a number <v Joel Grey>of ways. <v Joel Grey>The eardrum can be punctured by a sharp object or torn by a very loud
<v Joel Grey>noise. <v Joel Grey>By grafting skin from the outer ear, a new membrane can be stretched across <v Joel Grey>the face of the eardrum. <v Joel Grey>Among the various middle ear disorders is a condition called auto sclerosis, <v Joel Grey>which causes a bony growth to accumulate at the base of the stirrup where it touches <v Joel Grey>the oval window. Sound waves can't enter the cochlea, causing <v Joel Grey>a severe hearing loss. <v Joel Grey>This condition can be corrected with a surgical procedure called a stapedectomy, <v Joel Grey>an artificial device is implanted, restoring the function of the stirrup. <v Joel Grey>The most severe hearing problems, sensory neural loss, occur <v Joel Grey>in the inner ear. The cochlea can be damaged by hereditary disorders, <v Joel Grey>drugs or excessive noise. <v Joel Grey>High levels of sound pound away at the fragile hairs and eventually
<v Joel Grey>can destroy them. And when they're lost, the sounds they transmitted <v Joel Grey>are lost forever. <v Joel Grey>Research is now being conducted to give sounds sensations to those with severe <v Joel Grey>inner ear problems. <v Joel Grey>An electrodes implanted in the damaged cochlea. <v Joel Grey>The electrode is connected to an internal receiver and <v Joel Grey>an external transmitter and microphone connected to the implant. <v Joel Grey>The hearing impaired often have trouble knowing how loud they're speaking. <v Joel Grey>The implant helps them sense the intensity of their own voice. <v Joel Grey>This woman has no hearing in one ear and a progressive loss in the other. <v Joel Grey>In distinguishing sound, the implant can't match the sensitivity of the <v Joel Grey>7000 hair bundles in a normal cochlea. <v Joel Grey>But for some, even a limited sense of hearing is a remarkable improvement.
<v Joel Grey>You know, when you lose your hearing, what you're really losing is the ability to sense <v Joel Grey>certain frequencies. You stop hearing certain parts of certain sounds. <v Joel Grey>This recording console enables sound engineers to control and manipulate <v Joel Grey>the various frequencies that make up the rich and beautiful sound we call music. <v Sound mixer 3>Is that the piano in the headphones. <v Joel Grey>But the use of a sophisticated filtering system, the engineers can eliminate <v Joel Grey>a specific range of frequencies. <v Joel Grey>Our ears can sense 20 cycles per second to 20000. <v Joel Grey>Our percussionist is producing sound at about 50 cycles per second <v Joel Grey>and the highest note on the piano is about 4000. <v Joel Grey>The sound of the human voice usually falls between the mid range frequencies of <v Joel Grey>300 to 3000, losing the ability to hear these frequencies
<v Joel Grey>severely limits the ability to hear what's being said. <v Joel Grey>I'll show you what I mean. George-. <v Studio employee>Hey man, did you feel like you w-2s and your contracts? <v Musician 2>I don't know what <v Musician 2>we can do- [sound muffles]. <v Studio employee>Hey George! <v George>I'm sorry. Say that again. I couldn't quite understand you. <v Joel Grey>It's my fault. I was trying to explain something, sorry. <v Studio employee>Are we on track with the W-2s? <v Joel Grey>That's what communication is like for the hearing impaired. <v Joel Grey>For them, the marvel of speech is reduced to a confusion of fragmented sounds <v Joel Grey>that can create miscommunication and often misunderstanding. <v Joel Grey>For the child who was born with a severe hearing loss. <v Joel Grey>The earliest opportunity to learn how to communicate in every way possible <v Joel Grey>is absolutely essential. <v Speech therapist>Make an H. Feel it. <v Speech therapist>Good, Vanessa.
<v Speech therapist>Goes here. <v Speech therapist>Look at me. Make another H. <v Speech therapist>It's my turn. I'll make an H. <v Speech therapist>You have to feel it. You have to feel it. <v Speech therapist>Make an H. <v Speech therapist>Good. <v Speech therapist>Good language. <v Speech therapist>Remember your H. <v Speech therapist>Horse. Good. <v Speech therapist>You did a good job. <v Joel Grey>Sound is how we touch each other from a distance. <v Joel Grey>But even if you've lost the feeling of sound, you can still reach out to each <v Joel Grey>other through the silent communication of sign language. <v ASL translation 1>You know, I care about you.
<v ASL translation 1>You're the only other person I feel like you talk to. <v ASL translation 1>But it's not a good time right now. <v ASL translation 1>I'm too involved, with school, with work. <v ASL translation 2 (Steve)>Too involved? Not the right time? What are you talking about? <v ASL translation 2 (Steve)>To be together, to be close to someone. <v ASL translation 2 (Steve)>Why do you look at the calendar. <v ASL translation 2 (Steve)>Just listen to your heart. What is it telling you about me? <v ASL translation 2 (Steve)>About us? <v ASL translation 1>No, I do feel it. <v ASL translation 1>It's saying that I want you. <v ASL translation 1>I want you to sit beside me in English class. <v ASL translation 1>Come on, let's go. <v Steve's friend>Hey Steve, are you guys going to work this out? <v Steve>Yeah, I'm not ready to get involved. I'll see you later. <v Joel Grey>Perhaps the only real barrier to communication isn't in the air, but in <v Joel Grey>the mind.
<v Joel Grey>Your hearing is your most personal sense. <v Joel Grey>You can focus in on a beautiful melody, shutting out everything else. <v Joel Grey>You can tune it in. Tune it out. <v Joel Grey>Depending on what you want to hear and your willingness to listen. <v Fan of Joel>Excuse me. I hate to bother you, but are you, Joel Gray? <v Joel Grey>Yes I am. <v Fan of Joel>I thought you were. What are you doing here? You're probably doing a show. <v Fan of Joel>Well, I'm here with my friend Debbie. We've never been you before. <v Fan of Joel>I suppose you haven't either. Come on Debbie, I want you to meet somebody. <v Joel Grey>What's your name? <v Debbie>Deb. Deborah. <v Fan of Joel>Oh, is it a cabaret again? <v Joel Grey>Oh, no, no. <v Fan of Joel>George M? Oh, no. You've done those. A new one, on tour. <v Fan of Joel>Oh, no you've done on tour. <v Joel Grey>Please. <v Fan of Joel>How do you do it all? <v Joel Grey>I really-.
<v Fan of Joel>You know I suppose it's your durability. Well, I wish I had that natural ability. <v Fan of Joel>Well, I have to have it because I joined the Pacific Theater Group and <v Fan of Joel>our first show is going to be Cabaret. <v Joel Grey>If you've ever been in one of these situations if someone's talking to you, but <v Joel Grey>really not listening to you. This is when you discover your ability to tune <v Joel Grey>certain sounds down and raise the volume on other sounds going on nearby. <v Joel Grey>This, they tell me, is called the cocktail party effect. <v Non-Dialog Sound>[Indistinct and various conversations going on about film, sports, personal life, and people's plans for the evening.]. <v Joel Grey>Another
<v Joel Grey>nice thing, we're programed to select specific sounds we really <v Joel Grey>should respond to. <v Debbie>Excuse me Mr. Grey, it was really nice to meet you. <v Joel Grey>Thank you. <v Debbie>Come on, Diane. <v Joel Grey>Bye bye. <v Paul>Is that what you had in mind, Jim? <v Jim>It's close. That is. But I think everything could go up a lot louder. <v Jim>Everything can be dominated. <v Joel Grey>The filmmakers know exactly how to manipulate our emotions. <v Joel Grey>They're doing that right now. One of the most effective ways to do it is with sound. <v Joel Grey>Mixing dialog and music and sound effects. <v Joel Grey>By combining those sounds in just the right way, the same visual elements <v Joel Grey>in a warm, comfortable lounge can be transformed into the makings <v Joel Grey>of a nightmare. <v Music>[The same bar scene as before, only know with ominous, tense, scary music.]
<v Jim>Alright Paul, in the next scene, and we are going to start here with the whistles. <v Paul>We have a whistle on the computer, want to hear it? <v Jim>Well, I'm I'm happy with the production sound. <v Another editor>Wait, let's hear this whistle. <v Paul>David, let's hear APM 157, take seven. <v Another editor>Do you hear this on a loop or what? It's coming out the computer. <v Paul>Now, what we can do is we can make it mellower. <v Paul>Here it is more brilliant. <v Another editor>Well I don't know. I like your whistle. I mean, I like the modulation. <v Another editor>I think we'll go with ours. <v Another editor>It's supposed to just overpower this next scene. <v Joel Grey>Noise. <v Joel Grey>Living in this society, we've come to take a sound level like this for granted. <v Joel Grey>But in this century alone, the sounds of the world have changed dramatically. <v Joel Grey>Say, how much for a ride around the park? <v Carriage driver>Not much, sir. <v Joel Grey>How can I refuse?
<v Joel Grey>Shh! To get an idea of what the world sounded like to our great grandparents, <v Joel Grey>it's right down the road apiece. <v Joel Grey>Turn the clock back and the sound level down. <v Joel Grey>It's been said that we only began to appreciate nature after <v Joel Grey>we've nearly ruined it. <v Joel Grey>And what applies to the landscape is just as true for the soundscape. <v Joel Grey>Hold it here for a minute. <v Carriage driver>Nice. Want some sugar? <v Carriage driver>That's good.
<v Joel Grey>There was a time not so long ago when the world was <v Joel Grey>a quiet place, a time when another voice was much <v Joel Grey>easier to hear. Perhaps more likely to be heard. <v Joel Grey>About 350 years ago, not far from here, Manhattan Island <v Joel Grey>was purchased for a handful of beads. <v Joel Grey>While Governor Peter Minuit waited to make his big sale. <v Joel Grey>Well, he probably heard what I'm hearing now. <v Joel Grey>The serenity of the forest and the dull click <v Joel Grey>of those beads. <v Joel Grey>The first sound of New York commerce that registered the
<v Joel Grey>beginning of that. <v Joel Grey>Living in our world means living with noise. <v Joel Grey>We're beginning to realize can have a powerful effect on our lives. <v Joel Grey>As we've learned, our ears feel sound. <v Joel Grey>So they, too, have become victims in our noise polluted world. <v Music>[Hectic, anxious, crowded montage of sounds and images].
<v Music> <v Music>[Rock band singing along to drums and guitar in a loud voice]. <v Joel Grey>What's noise to some is music to others. <v Joel Grey>The beauty of sound is definitely in the ear of the listener. <v Joel Grey>At the edge of the stage, the sound level is about equal to a commercial jet <v Joel Grey>at full thrust. <v Joel Grey>A recent study showed that many teenagers today have the hearing <v Joel Grey>of a 60 year old of the previous generation. <v Rock singer>I like to like, for all the guys who play guitars in the band, like them to be real <v Rock singer>loud because I can go better. <v Rock singer>I can pump more when I can, when I have all that volume behind me. <v Joel Grey>It's painful, though. It hurts your ears. <v Rock singer>Yeah, but it hurts real good. <v Joel Grey>Music reflects the tempo of an age. <v Joel Grey>So it's little wonder that this music has the melodic pattern and the beat
<v Joel Grey>of a machine gun. <v Joel Grey>Independence is not at all mandatory. <v Joel Grey>Headphones can plug you into both the dangers and the joys of sound. <v Joel Grey>But what may be good for the soul could be devastating for the ear. <v Joel Grey>The sounds of life come in an <v Joel Grey>infinite variety of shapes and effects. <v Joel Grey>From the tranquil sounds of motherhood to the disturbing sounds of a distant <v Joel Grey>world. <v Joel Grey>In just 200 years, we've built a strong and powerful nation, but <v Joel Grey>the same technology responsible for that growth has caused an alarming increase <v Joel Grey>in hearing impairment among Americans in just the past two decades.
<v Joel Grey>The same machines that built our country are now beginning to ruin <v Joel Grey>our ability to hear. <v Joel Grey>But does losing your ability to hear, I mean, that you've lost the ability to be a <v Joel Grey>productive member of our society, able to pursue your <v Joel Grey>goals, ambitions, your dreams? <v Joel Grey>Let's look at one individual who lost his hearing, <v Joel Grey>but never lost his dream, a dream which lives on in his music, <v Joel Grey>Ludwig van Beethoven. <v Joel Grey>Beethoven began to lose his hearing when he was about 30. <v Joel Grey>He'd achieved public recognition and acceptance as a genius. <v Joel Grey>And for the first time, he felt his goal was nearly in his grasp. <v Joel Grey>His dream a reality. <v Joel Grey>But then his sense of hearing began to die.
<v Joel Grey>At first, Beethoven saw no reason to continue. <v Joel Grey>He suffered tremendously and felt such anger <v Joel Grey>at losing his most precious sense through no fault of his own. <v Joel Grey>But then, in the silence of his despair, <v Joel Grey>he heard a deeper sound, much more profound. <v Joel Grey>The echo of the unconquerable human spirit. <v Joel Grey>Through this, Beethoven overcame <v Joel Grey>his loss. <v Joel Grey>Yes, conquered his affliction and said, <v Joel Grey>I will take fate by the throat. <v Joel Grey>I will not let it overcome me. <v Joel Grey>Beethoven would work out his music on sketchpads, so he always carried with him.
<v Joel Grey>When a sound came into his mind, he would hurriedly jot down the notes <v Joel Grey>and then later would strengthen and combine <v Joel Grey>them to form his great symphonies. <v Joel Grey>But these notes were not just symbols of sounds. <v Joel Grey>Beethoven wasn't just writing beautiful music. <v Joel Grey>He was composing ideas. <v Joel Grey>The ninth was his last and some say his greatest work. <v Joel Grey>Listening to it, we can hear what Beethoven was saying about the unconquerable human <v Joel Grey>spirit. You see, he believed that a power flows through us all. <v Joel Grey>And his dream for the ninth was that it should be a signal, <v Joel Grey>a sound that would reverberate throughout all of humanity, <v Joel Grey>leading us to our true potential, the strength to overcome any obstacle <v Joel Grey>to indeed take fate by the throat and realize our dreams.
<v Joel Grey>Beethoven conducted the ninth the first time it was performed. <v Joel Grey>He was totally death at the time. <v Joel Grey>After the second movement, the audience broke out in thunderous applause. <v Joel Grey>Beethoven, of course, couldn't hear it and raised his baton to <v Joel Grey>begin the next movement. When a young soprano came to him <v Joel Grey>and led him to the footlights. <v Joel Grey>Standing there before that great ovation, <v Joel Grey>he realized he had achieved his dream. <v Joel Grey>The ninth symphony lives on. <v Music>[Ninth symphony clip.]
<v Joel Grey>In the end, Beethoven could hear his music only in his mind. <v Joel Grey>But if he were alive today, he might be able to hear it with his ears. <v Joel Grey>We're exploring the ear in ways that until recently would have been thought impossible <v Joel Grey>with the electron microscope. <v Joel Grey>We can clearly see the finest details of the inner ear. <v Joel Grey>When we understand exactly how the brain receives and interprets the electrical signals <v Joel Grey>from the hair bundles, we will have solved one of the most complex mysteries <v Joel Grey>of all.
<v Scientist>Okay, I've got the probe in position. Are we getting anything? <v Joel Grey>This is a single hair cell which has been linked to a computer. <v Joel Grey>By stimulating the hair, the researchers hope to reproduce the same effect that <v Joel Grey>a soundwave would have on it. <v Joel Grey>Your hearing is the last sense to develop. <v Joel Grey>So premature infants are especially prone to hearing problems. <v Joel Grey>New technology allows us to actually listen in on the brain activity of this lightly <v Joel Grey>sleeping baby to determine how the brain will respond to a low intensity <v Joel Grey>sound.
<v Joel Grey>By examining the brain's reaction on a monitor and certain physical <v Joel Grey>responses, the test reveals that this baby's hearing is just <v Joel Grey>fine. <v Joel Grey>With special training, hearing impaired children can learn how to function and fully <v Joel Grey>enjoy life without sound. <v Joel Grey>But the early detection of hearing loss can be a tremendously <v Joel Grey>important advantage. <v Non-Dialog Sound>[Indistinct conversation between a speech therapist and mother.]. <v Joel Grey>It's just as important if the child has any ability to hear whatsoever that parents <v Joel Grey>do everything possible to nurture that precious bit of hearing. <v Speech therapist 2>Going to pack your lunchbox. <v Jamie>?inaudible? <v Speech therapist 2>Good language. <v Speech therapist 2>Jamie, could you get me an apple? <v Speech therapist 2>I'd like an apple. <v Speech therapist 2>Put it in your lunchbox. <v Speech therapist 2>Thank you. Jamie, I want the banana.
<v Speech therapist 2>That's not the banana. <v Speech therapist 2>You're teasing. I want the banana. <v Bobby Barris>Okay, let's do it one more time, this time with ?inaudible? <v Joel Grey>So what we're finally realizing that the elderly are an extremely valuable <v Joel Grey>resource for all of us. <v Joel Grey>A natural loss of hearing can mean a needless loss of a valuable <v Joel Grey>member of society. <v Bobby Barris>And the next word is wonderful. <v Joel Grey>These men and women are learning to hear with ears that don't hear as well as they used <v Joel Grey>to. <v Non-Dialog Sound>[Elderly folks practicing their hearing in a group]. <v Joel Grey>It's a challenge and it's never too late to get help from those who care.
<v Bobby Barris>Evaluate your own ?inaudible? <v Joel Grey>This woman, Bobby Barris, cares a great deal. <v Joel Grey>She lost her hearing at the age of 3. <v Bobby Barris>Evaluate your own formation, articulation speech. <v Joel Grey>Bobby Barris is just one example of how totally unimpaired <v Joel Grey>the hearing impaired can be. <v Sound technician>Your primary calibration signal, one kilohertz. <v Sound technician>140 ?inaudible?. <v Joel Grey>Technology may be the cause of much of our noise pollution, but it can also be the cure. <v Sound technician 2>Okay Jeff, I'm going to apply a calibration signal to microphone number 1. <v Joel Grey>While a certain noise level is unavoidable, research is going on as to how to control <v Joel Grey>it by spreading frequencies to produce a less offensive
<v Joel Grey>masking noise. <v Joel Grey>By designing barriers to absorb and isolate noise. <v Sound technician 3>Close it up, take it out for a run. <v Joel Grey>And by eliminating the peaks and high frequencies of certain noises <v Joel Grey>to try to neutralize the harmful effects on the ear. <v Sound technician 3>A lot of <v Sound technician 3>shock noise. <v Joel Grey>Other research is being conducted to chart the acoustics of the year, to learn how sounds <v Joel Grey>are affected by the ear itself and exactly what happens to the ear <v Joel Grey>when a hearing aid is inserted.
<v Joel Grey>The results of this research will make it easier for all of us to hold on to the precious <v Joel Grey>gift of sound. <v Joel Grey>Our culture is absolutely in love with a package looking for just <v Joel Grey>the right fashion and design to project just the right image. <v Joel Grey>We dress to say something special about ourselves. <v Joel Grey>But a hearing aid can help us know something about each other. <v Hearing Aid Technician>What you've got here is a loss in both years, as you know, and the recommendation here <v Hearing Aid Technician>on your chart is that you'll be fitted with both ears. <v Hearing Aid Technician>Now, there are two types of hearing aids that I can show you that <v Hearing Aid Technician>will fit your situation very nicely. <v Skirt fitter>This is the Betty Boop here. They say that's falling nicely <v Skirt fitter>at the back. The waist is slightly large. <v Hearing Aid Customer>Is it going to hurt? <v Hearing Aid Technician>No, I don't think so. I promise not to
<v Hearing Aid Technician>hurt you, okay? <v Skirt fitter>The waist, the waist is done. <v Hearing Aid Technician>The next step that we're going to do will be to put a plug <v Hearing Aid Technician>in that ear. <v Skirt fitter>Turn back, Kathy. <v Skirt fitter>I'm thinking maybe we can even ?inaudible? <v Skirt fitter>on it? <v Joel Grey>A fitting for a hearing aid is just as easy as being fitted for clothes. <v Skirt fitter>Thank you, Kathy. <v Joel Grey>You pick the design that suits you. And it's measured and tailored. <v Hearing Aid Technician>You've seen that. Now we're going to apply it to your ear. <v Joel Grey>No matter how little a person can hear, how softly you feel the touch <v Joel Grey>of sound, there are still many ways to sense the vibrations. <v Hearing Aid Customer>It sounds beautiful. <v Hearing Aid Technician>Oh, that's great. All right. <v Hearing Aid Customer>Thank you.
<v Joel Grey>Sound, in the beginning, it helped keep us alive. <v Joel Grey>And today it enlivens our lives with culture. <v Joel Grey>It's what brings us together, it's how we feel about our world and becoming a part of it. <v Joel Grey>Sound. Our ears capture it, process it ,and then send it straight to our minds. <v Joel Grey>So it's the symphony of the universe composed <v Joel Grey>by the mind and brought to you by your remarkable ability <v Joel Grey>to hear.
To Hear
Producing Organization
KOCE (Television station : Chatsworth, Calif.)
Contributing Organization
PBS SoCal (Costa Mesa, California)
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Program Description
"TO HEAR is a one-hour program designed to educate the general viewing audience about the science of how sound is created and transmitted and how the process of hearing is accomplished. The program, hosted by Tony and Oscar award-winner Joel Grey, informs the viewer in a highly visual, entertaining, and scientific manner about the wonders of sound and creates a new awareness of the need for hearing conversation. It also deals sensitively and dramatically with the subject of hearing impairment and deafness."--1982 Peabody Awards entry form.
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Producing Organization: KOCE (Television station : Chatsworth, Calif.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: cpb-aacip-8e935c4d645 (Filename)
Format: Open reel videotape
Generation: Master
Duration: 00:58:46
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-eca935d79e9 (Filename)
Format: U-matic
Duration: 00:58:38
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Chicago: “To Hear,” 1982, PBS SoCal, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 28, 2022,
MLA: “To Hear.” 1982. PBS SoCal, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 28, 2022. <>.
APA: To Hear. Boston, MA: PBS SoCal, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from