Thank you for the important, well-written article in this week’s Features Section titled “Appreciating and Protecting the Gift of Hearing.” Back in June, 2014, my friend Miriam and I decided to put a small band aid on the very big problem of Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) caused by excessive decibel levels of music at simchos. We opened a gemach to lend out Baby Banz earmuffs for babies ages infant to 2 years old.
We had hopes of 1. protecting the youngest and most vulnerable guests at simchos; 2. raising awareness of the dangers of NIHL and the need for& everyone& to take proper precautions; and 3. perhaps, with the increased awareness, effecting actual change in the culture. We were two mothers who purchased two sets of earmuffs to lend out.
Fast-forward five years, and we now have a network of close to 70 gemachs across the U.S., Canada, Belgium, England, Israel, and soon to open in Australia. Besides for the first couple of gemachs, we did not recruit any of them. We were contacted by others requesting to join and open gemachs in their neighborhoods. I believe that this proves the deep chord this topic strikes in so many people.
Without paid advertising, our reputation has spread across three continents — and it stimulates action. Perhaps it’s time for baalei simchah and the music industry to take note and finally lower the music volume to safe decibel levels. As detailed in your article, hearing is a gift worthwhile protecting.& For a list of locations or to open a gemach in your area, I can be contacted via Hamodia.