Hearing Center of LI July 2017

(516) 872-8485 www.HearingCenterofLI.com

Long Island Sound

July 2017

Always With You One of the first things anybody walking into our office will notice is our decor — my beat-up high school trumpet perched on the credenza, the mandolin sitting in the waiting room, the numerous prints of musicians, and musical instruments. The theme permeates the building. And sure, it makes sense for an audiologist to frame their profession with a musical perspective. After all, when you lose your hearing, you lose access to one of the oldest forms of human expression, one that’s been present in virtually every known culture throughout history in some form or another. But in our office, music is more than decoration. It’s an integral part of our lives and the lives of many of our patients. The Buried Emotional Energy of Music

Music has been an important part of my life since grammar school, when I started playing the trumpet at Rhame Avenue School in East Rockaway under the tutelage of Mr. Sansenbach. Though I don’t pick up the instrument too often anymore, I can’t deny the lasting influence he had on me. Mr. Sansenbach was a serious musician whose primary instrument was clarinet, but could play almost anything. He was eager to share his broad knowledge with us kids, and he had lots of patience. I revisited the school as a teenager to see my younger brother play there. Let me tell you, if you want to see true dedication, watch the band director at a grammar school concert after he counts off and the inevitable squeaks begin. My musical pursuits continued when I graduated to high school. Our band teacher, John Pellicane — who has unfortunately since passed away — had been a professional tenor saxophone player before settling in at East Rockaway High School. “A good musician, a real artist, can express his or her thoughts and feelings within the confines of a single quarter note,” he told us. “If you take pride in your craft, it doesn’t matter if there are two people in the audience or 2000 — you play your heart out.” It was a

valuable lesson, not only for us as budding musicians, but as future professionals. Do your best, all the time. It’s a principle I’ve applied to my practice to this day. Back then, I played with a local youth group band, traveling to nursing homes around the area. We would perform old standards, like “Bye Bye Blackbird” or “Blue Skies.” It didn’t matter if these elderly folks had Alzheimer’s and couldn’t recall what they had for lunch. When we played a song that was popular in their teenage years, they’d sing along emphatically to every word. When my father was in the hospital for open-heart surgery, they gave him tapes

affects our emotions and enriches our lives was made obvious to me through music. My dad didn’t make it through the operation. After he passed, I sat down and picked my way through every song he mentioned that day. Though he’s not with me today, the songs are embedded in my memory. I can conjure some tiny part of my dad whenever I need to — just like those folks at the nursing home, singing along to tunes lost to them for 60 years.

of slow meditative music to keep him calm. “This is so slow and boring!” he said. “Why don’t they have something upbeat, like ‘Downtown Strutters’ Ball’?” He rattled off all these songs, old standards like “Sunny Side of the Street,” from before his time. Music affects us on a deep level. It can touch the deepest parts of our hearts and minds and even affects our bodies. It’s one of the reasons I followed audiology as my passion. The way that sound

Dr. Larry blowing his own horn

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