In a wired society, ears are in danger

In the age of Bluetooth cell phones, iPod ear buds and the PSP, it seems Americans are becoming less personal, less engaged with those around them and with the things that are going on around them.

People, myself sometimes included in this group, sometimes spend too much time in their own worlds with their music turned up and their personality turned down.

It seems every where I go there are people who seem like they don’t want to interact with others, people who act like the things going on outside of their little iPod bubble world do not have any affect on them.

Some people even promote this idea by forcing other people to listen to the music they are listening to by blaring it so darn loud that people living on the other side of campus can hear it.

So much for a “personal” listening device.

Those people really unnerve me because not only do I not really care about the music they are listening to, but also most people do not understand what they are doing to their hearing.

Who says that just because I do not have my iPod on means that I want someone else to provide music for me. Most of the time the people that have their music blaring are the kids that listen to heavy metal or rap.

A study released back in 2005 was starting to see the dangers of the iPod and listening to music at insane levels.

A new report on WebMD also says if you listen to music from iPod ear buds or similar headphones for prolonged periods of time, even with the volume at reasonable levels, can cause damage over a period of time.

“When I ask kids why they’re not worried about hearing loss, they say they have faith that medical technology will find a way to restore their hearing,” says Deanna Meinke, chairwoman of the National Hearing Conservation Association’s Task Force on Children and Hearing.

People don’t seem to understand how things like this can affect them on the long term. Doctors today are talking about long-term hearing loss, the kind that requires you to wear a hearing aid at the age of 35. Wouldn’t that look great with your diamond earrings and giant hoops?

I have to admit one thing, the Bluetooth cell phone adapters are nice when you are driving or doing something that requires the use of both hands. Like right now, I am talking to a friend of mine on my hands free device. They have their advantages and disadvantages.

But when you are just walking around on campus, at The Small or Uptown, take that thing off! It’s bad enough wondering if you are talking to me or someone talking in your ear, but those things don’t really look that great.

It seems some people wear them as a fashion statement. It’s like they are saying, “Hey, look at me, I can spend more money on something for my phone that is smaller than my phone.”

Like I said, I can see its uses, but wearing it all of the time is like wearing an iPod all of the time. People seem to spend more time on their phone and in their musical world then they do interacting with other people.

What would you say if someone told you that by listening to your music about ten percent softer could do about 15 percent less damage then it would if you kept it at that louder level? Well according to the New England Journal of Medicine, that’s exactly what would happen.

Hearing is something that I’m going to need for the rest of my life. Why would I want to lose it this early on? I plan on living till at least eighty, losing it now would mean going more than half my life with hearing difficulties. I’d rather not.

Send comments to Andrew Herman at [email protected]