Hearnet and MediaCast present the netcast of Vibe-O-Thon


by Rebecca Eisenberg

Kathy Peck is a small woman with a huge smile and sparkling eyes who appears to operate at 100 rpm. She took a few minutes out of her hectic, benefit-night schedule to talk with me about the event going on just a few feet away.

Kathy is the founder, executive director and Chief Operating Officer of H.E.A.R., which is, in fact, based in San Francisco. 50 Oak St., the venue for tonight's benefit, is also the building that holds H.E.A.R.'s office space. "People feel comfortable here. Musicians walk on in and talk to us."

Although headquartered here in San Francisco, H.E.A.R. actually extends far beyond the Bay Area. It has branches in over 62 cities worldwide, including the continental United States, Canada, and Europe.

Hear consists mainly of "idealists who are also into hearing protection," Kathy explained. Many people feel strongly about music, but often do not feel comfortable talking about the side effects of too much of a good thing.

That is where H.E.A.R. steps in. H.E.A.R. provides a safe place for musicians to bring their hearing-related problems. And even the most famous and popular of the set take advantage of their resources.

For example, when Luscious Jackson was in a bind during their stopover in San Francisco, H.E.A.R. was able to bring out protection to make them safe and ready to perform again during their national tour. Kathy also gave them referrals to H.E.A.R. outlets across the country, "so they had somewhere to go when they were on the road if they had problems, instead of just while they were here."

In this way, H.E.A.R. has developed relationships with all sorts of bands in all sorts of cities. It is there, ready to save the day.

Kathy describes H.E.A.R. as Oz, behind the performance curtain to make people's dreams come true. And she should know.

A musician herself, Kathy suffered some hear loss. But thanks to the knowledge and resources she obtained through H.E.A.R., she was able to solve many of her hearing problems.

H.E.A.R. hopes to continue help musicians worldwide. She now works full-time to provide others with the same amount of support.

"A lot of times musicians do not take well enough care of their hearing. They do not even realize that they are deaf. They don't notice until it is too late."

Hearing is invaluable. And H.E.A.R., through the work of Kathy and others, hopes to protect hearing for the good of musicians today and tomorrow.

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