Elderly Couple Gets Feisty about Sound Mix
We got an exasperated email from the caregiver husband of a chronically ill woman, suffering from a perfect storm of health challenges. We’re including an edited version of the whole sequence of emails, because it’s got some good info and it has a nice progression:
Dear Health Journeys,
My wife just bought a couple of your CDs and the background music is so loud and annoying that she can hardly listen to them. She can't hear the words because of all of the background noise which you apparently think is calming music. We complained about this previously and had hoped that the new ones would not have all of the annoying background music. I guess no one at your company cares.
Sorry your wife is having problems with our audios. Most people respond well to the sound mix and, I have to say, we get many grateful comments about the music.
We sometimes have to adjust it for an older population, because my voice is low and hearing loss usually starts with the lower registers. Does your wife by any chance have any mild hearing loss?
Thank you for your quick response. Yes she does have some hearing loss. She is 81 and has multiple health problems. On one of your CDs I had to play it over and over as I typed all of the words so she could then read them as she listened. However, her hearing is not all that bad if you did not have all of the unnecessary music in the background.
Which audios is she trying to listen to? There is only one master per title, and we duplicate all reorders from those masters, so unless we announce otherwise, there’s never a reason for you to assume the mix will change.
And as I mentioned earlier, we don’t change it because the mix works well for most of our listeners. This is the problem when a company makes a mass distribution CD, I guess. We can't afford to make multiple versions, so we just try to do what pleases and helps the most people.
Sometimes individual people are willing to pay for the studio time involved in lowering the music and/or raising the voice levels. It's expensive to do – especially with our old analog recordings – and kind of a nuisance for the company to process those requests, so, except for cases of extreme need, we don’t do it.
Alternatively, in the next few months, we'll be getting some audios ready for a research pilot in an assisted living facility, and those audios will be adjusted for possible (and likely) hearing loss. If you want to wait, I can announce when those are ready and perhaps we’ll make a batch for private sale as well.
We do have other audios by other practitioners (such as Jon Kabat Zinn) with no music background whatsoever, that are very effective – perhaps you’d like to try one of those??
Thank you for your continuing concern. I’ve already transcribed the Cancer CD. Perhaps if you can find the scripts for Pain & Stress tapes that you used when you made the recordings, that would suffice. If she knew what the words are that you are saying, she could tune the loud music out of her mind as she listens. Thanks again. I look forward to hearing from you again.
Your wife is lucky to have you looking out for her. I know it can't be easy trying to make life a little easier for her.
All best wishes, BR
[Ed. Note: Staying Well with Guided Imagery has the guided imagery narratives that closely approximate the imagery on these CDs; Jim was sent these to compensate for all those needless CDs he bought in hopes of a different sound mix.]