Against Headphones [telecom]

Against Headphones


One in five teenagers in America can't hear rustles or whispers, according to a study published in August in The Journal of the American Medical Association. These teenagers exhibit what's known as slight hearing loss, which means they often can't make out consonants like T's or K's, or the plinking of raindrops. The word "talk" can sound like "aw." The number of teenagers with hearing loss - from slight to severe - has jumped 33 percent since 1994.

Given the current ubiquity of personal media players - the iPod appeared almost a decade ago - many researchers attribute this widespread hearing loss to exposure to sound played loudly and regularly through headphones. (Earbuds, in particular, don't cancel as much noise from outside as do headphones that rest on or around the ear, so earbud users typically listen at higher volume to drown out interference.) Indeed, the August report reinforces the findings of a 2008 European study of people who habitually blast MP3 players, including iPods and smartphones. According to that report, headphone users who listen to music at high volumes for more than an hour a day risk permanent hearing loss after five years.

Maybe the danger of digital culture to young people is not that they have hummingbird attention spans but that they are going deaf.


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Reply to
Monty Solomon
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As someone who used to frequent live - and very loud - music performances, this will just be an addition to that way of damaging hearing that has been going on for decades now.

I still recall coming out of my very first loud show and walking straight onto a road and almost being cleaned up by a truck - because I couldn't hear it coming, or anything much at all for the next couple of days!

The worst thing that happens these days to me is when my mobile phone doesn't answer correctly and when I put it to my ear I get blasted with the uber-loud ringer - that physically stings as well as deafening that ear for a few minutes.

Reply to
David Clayton

On 1/9/11 1:29 PM, David Clayton wrote: .

How many remember the roar of a SXS SATT room. I still hear very good, so even all those years did not do much if any damage.

Reply to

My cousin played in a rock band during college. He said that he and his band mates wore earplugs during performances to protect their hearing. The could still hear enough of the music though the earplugs to stay synchronized with each other. A pity that their audience member didn't wear earplugs.

Obtelecom: One of my coworkers at Bell Labs worked on TJ and TM short-haul microvave radio. Each unit had a DC-to-DC inverter which operates at 2 kHz, with a loud sound. He developed a hole in his hearing frequency response at 2 kHz. All other audio frequencies were OK.


***** Moderator's Note *****

When I worked at Back Bay in Boston, the 50KW Turbine generator would start up every week for tests. It was as loud as an aircraft jet engine - which it was - and my partnet and I refused to work in the area on those nights.

In a way, we were pioneers: hearing loss wasn't something ordinary people knew of or worried about in those years. It was only because I had been in Vietnam, and stationed on a flight line where I had been trained about the dangers of jet noise, that I was aware we were at risk.

Bill Horne Moderator

Reply to

On Tue, 11 Jan 2011 13:07:45 -0800, Richard wrote: .........

One of the big reasons the sound at a lot of smaller rock gigs is (used to be?) so bad is that the people doing the PA mix have been in the industry for so long that their own hearing is shot, so they adjust the sound to what is ok to their battered hearing which means it usually sounds terrible to people with normal hearing!

Many an emerging band has been crippled by hearing damaged sound mixers until they become famous enough to employ people with good ears.

Yep, the physiology of the ear has specific areas sensitive to specific frequencies, so hammering them essentially wears them out prematurely and you can end up with significant notches in your own bandwidth.

Compared to 20+ years ago the health and safety protection in the workplace to protect hearing is very good now, it is perverse that we now have other new technologies to cause damage after we have recognised the hazards in the workplace!

Oh well, I suppose the market for "Bionic" hearing aids will increase exponentially and one day someone will build a phone into them.

Reply to
David Clayton

The majority of airline pilots suffer significant hearing loss as they approach age 70. I was with two others for lunch yesterday, ages mid

70s and we all have the same problem.

It's not from being outside around jet engines but the thousands of hours in the cockpit of an airliner. Persumably, a passenger who flew as much as we did would suffer the same problem. However, almost no one rides around that much over the years.

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