Love Your Music, But Listen Carefully!

Linda Eve Diamond

According to recent research, listening at maximum volume for even five minutes per day can increase risk of permanent hearing damage. There are ways to reduce risk and enjoy the music. In fact, many players now allow users to set their own maximum volume. If you’re buying iPods for kids, you can set the max volume with a combination code so that only you have access to raise the volume above recommended levels. These vary based on your unit and headphones; iPods have been determined safe at 80% of the maximum volume for 90 minutes per day.

Follow general guidelines and common sense, too. If you can’t hear people around you and they can hear your music, turn it down a few notches. Often, we turn up the volume in noisy environments without realizing how loud we’ve gone. Most portable players can play as loud as 120 db (which is the equivalent of having an ambulance siren in your ear), so consider noise reduction headphones to reduce external noise. For more tips and guidelines for safe listening, see the websites listed below.

Until next time, wishing you all happy, healthy listening!


Interested in learning more? Here are some great links:
To read about results from a national conference for understanding and prevention of noise-induced hearing loss in children, go to:


Wise words from Paul McCartney and Phil Collins, quoted on

“Look after your hearing – it’s the only one you’ve got!” Sir Paul McCartney

“I've been reasonably lucky, my ears held out until recently when one pulled a moody on me!! Others may not be so lucky, taking huge risks to show unnecessary bravado.  If you're a working musician then take the extra time and care to try to make your workplace "bulletproof".  You only get one pair of ears and if they go...” Phil Collins



Listening Leaders Newsletter

Dr. Lyman K. (Manny) Steil, International Listening Association (ILA) founder, offers a free bi-monthly e-newsletter through his Listening Leaders Website!

Visit to sign up.


Listening Speaker Wanted...

October 27th is the date the Conserve School’s annual “Our Shared Earth” symposium and they have had a last-minute speaker cancellation. 
This year the theme is "How Listening Can Save the World.”

If you would be interested in delivering a fun, interactive keynote address to the students on the importance of listening, please contact Jeff Rennicke at or call him at 715-547-1342.

TheConserve is an environmentally- oriented college prep boarding school in northern Wisconsin. 

Visit to learn more about this exciting new school!

"Our Shared Earth Symposium" is a gathering of 135 students from 11 nations spend the day attending seminars and participating in exercises and activities based on an environmental theme.

“Our goal is to spend the day teaching and practicing the art of being a good listener with the hope of applying those skills in the increasingly polarized world of environmental issues.” -Jeff Rennicke, Conserve teacher

Listening Posts in Schools

By Linda Eve Diamond

When it feels as though no one is listening, kids, adolescents, and young adults can spin out and make dangerous choices.  Even if they have family that is willing to listen non-judgmentally, they may fear judgement or fear revealing something they perceive will be unlovable or disappointing.  Perception is reality; they have no one to talk to.  What's the answer?  Listening Posts are helping students of all ages, from kindergarten through grad school, by providing a safe, nonjudgemental listening ear. 

Listening Post, Inc., a non-profit corporation, has developed these Listening Posts as a way of providing "a safe place for students of all ages to express feelings of joy, anger, rejection, failure, and confusion."  How do they do it?  No judgement and no advice.  They listen.  The listeners interject with clarifying questions that empower students to find their own solutions. 

The setup is simple: a red checkered tablecloth, some fruit or snacks, and caring perceptive listeners.  Everyone needs a good listener, and these Posts are also open to administrators and faculty.

Mabel F. Barth founded the Listening Post in 1979, a venture which began at the university level and expanded to lower grades when she saw a rash of suicides in the 1980's.  Listening Posts are now helping people in over 100 schools nationwide.  One unique aspect of the Listening Post is that it appeals to people of every age group, educational level, financial status, and social background.  To learn more or to find out how to set up a Listening Post in your area, check out 


Into Great Silence

By Linda Eve Diamond

A three-hour film with barely two minutes of dialogue and no interviews or voiceover has been packing theaters in Europe and winning awards worldwide.  The film documents the daily lives of Carthusian monks living in silence at Le Grande Chartreuse, a monastery in the French Alps.  Philip Gröning, the film's director, describes it as "a quiet film, but not a silent film," and calls the soundtrack of simple sounds and chants "really exciting." 

Gröning's original vision was not to film life in a monastery, but to create a film that represented the present moment.  In an interview, he explained that in silence "the experience of time is swept up to the surface.  Nothing detracts from it.  And this, in turn, is directly connected to the way monks live: in an absolutely rigid temporal structure that lays down whensomething has to be done and the rules according to which it has to be done."  The film speaks of the present moment through sounds and silence, solemn practice and play, conformity and creativity, isolation and contact, soloist, and choir.   

The film was a challenge to make and is a rare treat for filmgoers.  Sixteen years after making his request, Gröning was granted a rare permit to film inside the monastery once he had forged a trusted long-term relationship with the General Prior.  Before this film, this monastery had only been photographed in 1960, with a stipulation that no monks were shown.  The experience and challenge of making the film was unique, as Gröning became part of the quiet landscape he was filming.  He lived in the monastery for five months and followed the strict schedule of the order.  He had to work alone—acting as director, producer, cinematographer, sound and film editor—in the time alotted daily for labor. 

Into Great Silence has not yet been released in the US and has only been seen here by those who attending its screening at the 35th new Directors/New Films Festival in New York, the San Francisco Film Festival, or the Inspiration film Festival in Santa Monica, California. 

As of today, the trailer has not yet been posted, but it's coming soon.  To see the upcoming trailer and more about the film, visit

Linda Eve Diamond, Author and Founder of


International Listening Association

By Linda Eve Diamond

Imagine a place where people gather from all over the world to listen, learn, and share their listening knowledge.  The
International Listening Association (ILA) is a community of listeners and their annual convention is the place to be if you are looking to hone your skills, gather resources, or meet interesting people—who listen.  

Presenters at the last convention—held in Salem, Oregon—included researchers, communication professors, an audiologist,  intercultural communication experts, health care professionals, business leaders, an environmental expert, a buddhist monk, and a jazz musician! 

The next convention will be in Frankfurt, Germany next summer, July 18-22 2007. 

Happy listening!


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