Over the last week, I’ve taken the GO train (our commuter rail system) into and out of Toronto several times. On each occasion, I saw scores of people listening to MP3 players. Sometimes I even “enjoyed” their music, six seats away. Climbing the stairs from the subway to the packed streets of downtown T.O. at rush hour last night, I looked around and noticed that people were not turning off their MP3 players. The telltale white iPod cords were still snaking up to their ears. How loud do you have to turn up your player to drown out the sounds of the streetscape? VERY LOUD.
Maybe I’m becoming a little old lady, but I refuse to stick my earbuds in if I have to turn up the volume past the halfway point on my iPod nano. At the gym, I click the device off if the ambient noise of runners and weightlifters drowns out the podcast I’m listening to. While on the subway, I read. Walking on Yonge Street, I feel that I need to hear the traffic sounds to be safe. I’d hate to damage my hearing and get run down by an errant taxi at the same time.
I’m really concerned, especially for the 20-somethings who have 50+ years of ear-destroying listening ahead of them. Prediction: The hearing aid biz is going to get really big.
For some tips on saving your hearing, here’s a recent article from Wired. The money quote:
Like boiled lobsters, damaged ears cannot be returned to their previous state.