Appreciate the Music in Life


Pharrell Williams


“Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth…”

This past summer, I started experiencing constant ringing in my right ear. As a hearing-impaired individual, I have suffered from this all of my life.  However, this time was different.  It didn’t stop.

Feeling frustrated, I went to see my primary care physician who told me that my ear was inflamed and prescribed some antibiotic drops for 10 days. He insisted I would be fine and the ringing would subside; it didn’t.

Two months later, I went to see an ENT who checked my ears and told me that I had wax build up in my right ear. I was told to continue to use the drops that the other doctor had prescribed for another ten days.  He was certain the ringing would go away; it didn’t.

In November of last year, I went back to my primary care physician, still frustrated. He checked my ear again and told me that there was nothing wrong.  However, he prescribed stronger antibiotic drops just to see if it would make a difference.  I was told to use the drops for another 10 days.  Eventually, he said, the ringing will go away; it didn’t.

A friend of mine recently referred me to another specialist and this week (Tuesday) was my appointment. After an extensive examination by the doctor, I was given a hearing test.  Although there is a myriad of reasons why someone would experience ringing in the ears (tinnitus), the most common cause is hearing loss.  Although I was hopeful and honestly didn’t think my hearing had worsened, I was wrong; it did.

This was certainly not the news that I was hoping for. Not only has my hearing declined, I will likely suffer from the constant ringing for the rest of my life.  Those of you out there who have ever experienced this, know how nerve-racking this can be.

What’s more, despite all the technological improvements over the years, the audiologist admitted she’s not sure how much hearing aids would help in my case but still recommended I try them. I suffer from nerve deafness in both ears as a result of being born with cerebral palsy.

The doctor met me in the examination room after the hearing test and when he walked in, I said, “Yes, I know I failed.” He looked at me sombrely and agreed that it was bad explaining that my loss was considered severe.

We went on to discuss my options but he explained that there is nothing that can be done about the ringing. “You have to think positive,” he noted.  “When you do, it will help you to not notice the ringing.”

I smiled back at him, “Funny you should say that. I’m teaching a course on positive thinking that starts next week.”

The doctor looked at me surprised, “Really? Well, then you won’t have any problem.”  We then shared a laugh. He was trying to make me feel better and I appreciated that very much. But to tell you the truth, when I left my appointment and got back to my car, I cried.  Yes, I was feeling sorry for myself.  I couldn’t help but wonder if my hearing would continue to decline and if I would someday lose my hearing all together.

We all have those moments and we are entitled to them. As I have explained countless times, being happy doesn’t mean being happy 100 percent of the time.  It’s just not possible.  We get angry.  We all feel sad.  We get upset.  Things happen.

The trick, however, is to still choose the positive despite the bad. Yesterday morning I came down to my office and started listening to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.  As I listened to the song, I was crying, smiling, clapping and dancing to the beat all at the same time.  They were not sad, but happy tears.

Although I’ve listened to Pharrell’s song countless times before. It suddenly had profound meaning to me.  For it was at that very moment that I realized how truly blessed I am to be able to hear the music.  The music never sounded so beautiful!

Maybe my hearing has gotten worse but the fact is I can still hear. It may not be perfect.  There are many sounds that I’m not even aware of, however, I can still hear.  However imperfect my hearing may be, I can still hear my husband say I love you.  I can still hear my daughters call me, “Mom.”  I can still hear the contagious sound of laughter.  I am truly blessed.

How truly lucky I am to be able to appreciate Pharrell’s beautiful words:

It might seem crazy what I’m about to say

Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break

I’m a hot air balloon that could go to space

With the air, like I don’t care baby by the way

Because I’m happy Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof

Because I’m happy Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth

Because I’m happy Clap along if you know what happiness is to you

Because I’m happy

Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

Here come bad news talking this and that, yeah,

Well, give me all you got, and don’t hold it back, yeah,

Well, I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine, yeah,

No offense to you, don’t waste your time

Here’s why

Because I’m happy

Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof

Because I’m happy

Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth

Because I’m happy

Clap along if you know what happiness is to you

Because I’m happy

Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do


As I listened to the song, it was like Pharrell was singing directly to my very soul. Thank you, Pharrell.  Yes, happiness is the truth.  How truly amazing the seemingly simple things in life can be when we take the time to appreciate them.

Pharrell - The Voice

Pharrell – The Voice


2 thoughts on “Appreciate the Music in Life

  1. Beautiful post, Josie-especially when you make the connection that your decline in hearing has been the catalyst for you to recognize and appreciate the hearing you do have. So much of life is like that-right? We savor the spring after a frigid winter. We particularly appreciate our family’s health after a serious illness. The trick is to hold onto that reality and not take any of it for granted-and that seems to be your gift. 🙂

  2. Thank you very much, Anne Michele. I am very grateful to you for your help and support. My life has not been easy but my experiences made me the person that I am. For one, my experiences have allowed me to help others. For that, I am eternally grateful.

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