A company called Doppler Labs just finished the prototype for an incredible new technology that has the potential to change live concerts and even the way we hear the world. It’s called Here Active Listening, and it’s a wireless earbud that, instead of playing music, lets you control the sound of the world around you.
Hearing people:Oh, my day was great! I went shopping, got a few things, went to a movie, and then went home and relaxed haha.
Deaf people:I ventured out of my home into the bright glorious day. The sky was blue with clear skies. The sun shone down upon my silver Chevrolet. I entered my car, adjusted the rear view mirror, and backed out of my gravel driveway. I drove down at least a couple blocks to the local mall. Birds flew across the skies as I exited my car and walked with purpose inside the mall. I purchased three Gap shirts, a new charger for my iPhone. Oh but I saw the coolest Nike tennis shoes, but sadly the store had just pulled down its bars as it closed. I exited the mall, two stuffed bags hand in hand. I placed them gently in my passenger seat and decided I was in the mood for a movie. I went to the theatre and saw the movie The Imitation Game. Benedict Cumberbatch, his hair was gloriously on point, and the message and the emotional adventure the movie provided was absolutely astounding. I sat up from my red lush theatre seat, my eyes tearing up. I wiped the tears away and made my way to my car. The cold night wind cut across my face, but I didn't mind. A few stars shine down from above amidst the dark clear sky. I drove back to my home, turned the key, and entered. I placed my bags down on the table in the dining room and fixed myself a nice cup of mango green tea and sat down on the sofa and relaxed comfortably watching Doctor Who and Supernatural on Netflix until it was time for bed and I entered sleep in my cool comfy bed. I smiled as I fell asleep.
Cranking up the tunes today may lead to the inability to hear them tomorrow, according the World Health Organization. Young people tend to turn the volume too high on their mobile music devices, as well as frequent noisy concerts and clubs. As a result, over 1.1 billion people ages 12-35 are at risk of hearing loss, the WHO said in a recent statement.
Some studies have shown that the number of young people with damaged hearing has increased over the past decade, likely because of the heightened use of iPods and smartphones to play loud music. In 1994, 3.5 percent of American teens experienced hearing loss, but that number rose to 5 percent by 2006. To combat this increase, the WHO recommends listening to mobile devices for a maximum of one hour per day, and the volume should stay around 60 percent.
The idea is to minimize unsafe listening practices, which depend on two factors: how long you listen and how loud the sound is. The sound of a typical conversation is 60 decibels, which won’t cause any hearing problems. But an idling bulldozer is about 85 decibels, which can cause permanent damage after eight hours. Sounds like a clap of thunder or even a close vuvuzela clock in at 120 decibels, damaging hearing after just nine seconds. Hearing loss from these loud, sustained sounds can be immediate, or they build up over time as the delicate structures in the inner ear become more and moredamaged.
However, headphones can be both good and bad for our auditory health, according to Kathleen Campbell, a professor at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine who specializes in audiology. Over-ear or noise-canceling headphones are ideal, because they encourage people to turn down the volume of the music they’re playing. People tend to prefer their music to be proportionally louder than any background noise, but if they can’t hear that noise, they’re not as inclined to turn up the music’s volume. Leaky headphones, however, make us more likely to turn up the volume, which can be bad news; headphones at maximum volume can impair hearing in just four minutes, and many young people don’t even realize that those deafening effects can be permanent.
To prevent hearing loss even further, WHO notes that headphone manufacturers and government regulators should do their part to develop listening devices that don’t irrevocably affect listeners. Loud venues like concerts or clubs should offer earplugs or quiet spaces where patrons can give their ears a break.
But in the meantime, WHO says it’s up to listeners to take care of their hearing. The type of music you listen to isn’t as important as its volume or duration, Campbell says, “but aficionados of different types of music tend to have different volume preferences.” Using noise-canceling headphones may help listeners resist the temptation to turn it up.
More than 1 billion people ages 12 to 35 put themselves at risk of permanent hearing loss, according to the U.N.’s World Health Organization. A study reveals that 50% of
those surveyed listen to their personal audio devices too loudly, while
40% are exposed to damaging sounds from concerts and bars. So how loud should your music actually be?