Advocate for Silence is Going Deaf

The man who captured the sound of sunrise on six different continents and is referred to as “The Sound Tracker” is losing his ability to hear even the softest of noises, according to a story by the Northwest News Network.

In spring 2012 we wrote a feature on Gordon Hempton, a Washingtonian who denoted a certain spot in the Olympic National Park as the quietest place in the Lower 48. The 60-year-old has explored all around the world to become an expert on the variety of roars and echos mother nature produces. But as of late, all sounds seem equally quiet to him.

Hempton is almost completely deaf in his left ear and is rapidly losing hearing out of his right side, NNN reports. He has dedicated his entire life to sound and now is forced to try to piece together all of his findings before it’s too late.

The Sound Tracker has become widely known for his recordings of noise from across the globe, which are used in computer games, can be heard at museums, and are sold on iTunes. Hempton is extremely passionate about sound. But his Emmy Award-winning work was done for a greater cause, which can be read about in our previous article on him.

“One Square Inch” is one of Hempton’s most notable establishments, an area inside the Hoh Rain Forest of the Olympic National Park in which he designated as the quietest place in the country and has been attempting to protect from overhead flight patterns and anything else that could disrupt the peace.

As we reported last year, “When Hempton established One Square Inch of Silence with the intention of hastening overflight regulation, scientists from around the world had already begun to report the damaging effects of persistent mechanized noise on both wildlife and human populations. Animals depend on the ability to transmit sounds for communication, procreation, and, ultimately, survival. Many, such as monkeys, canines, elephants, some amphibians, and especially birds, alter their tunes in areas of inescapable human-caused noise.”

Hempton is trying to complete the project “Quiet Planet” before he loses all of his hearing abilities. He has always been self-employed but is now counting on volunteer assistants to help him edit and finalize this album of some of the best sounds he has captured. It is unclear what led to his deafness, but Hempton hopes his earnings from Quiet Planet will provide him with the funding needed to have a chance to get his hearing back.

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