Thursday, October 19, 2006

Deaf AND Dumb

I was sitting next to a kid on the subway this morning who had his iPod ear-buds planted deep into his eardrums, oblivious to the world around him - well and good, we were on a crowded subway, after all. And yet, he may as well have had two big speakers hooked to his head. I could hear every riff, beat, syllable, and grunt of what he was cruisin' to on the early morning train.

Now, maybe I don't understand this new-fangled technology. Perhaps jamming little earphones down the ear canal and pumping up the volume won't damage this kid's hearing one little bit, although the music was loud enough to damage mine. I looked around the train. Fully 60% of the the folks crammed into the 4-Train had those little iPod ear-buds buried in their ears. Several around me were clearly audible to the outside world.

I'm sounding like an old lady, I know, and I well remember all the crazy warnings we got from crabby geezers back in the day (mainly about sleeping in brush rollers, I recall). Still I can't help but think the masses are destroying their hearing.

On the upside, I see big money in the coming years for auditory specialists and hearing aid manufacturers, though I think the ears of a generation or two will be damaged beyond all salvation. New frontiers in sign language and body language will open up, since no one will be able to hear. What a retirement opportunity for us baby boomers (those who didn't destroy their own hearing at a Grand Funk Railroad concert in 1973) - language interpretation for Gen X and Y! The old leading the deaf.

Now, either turn the volume down or pull those damn things outta your ears, you idiots!


Liz said...

What, Mary, have you been reading Serena's post on being curmudgeonly?!

MaryB said...

Yes, I'm rapidly becoming a codgerly geezer. Or geezerly codger.

Joy said...

Oh Mary, I remember the warnings about those brush rollers. By all accounts I should have permanent grooves embedded in my head.

My kids are past the blasting music stage...they're grown ups now; and listen to their music as grown ups...whatever that means. I fear that we'll be looking at a generation or two of partially deaf kids as things are going now. If you have earphones on and everyone around you can hear what you're listening to as clearly as you can....THAT'S too loud.

Winston said...

I am living proof that too much too loud rock & roll many years ago did some damage. But I love my hearing aids! Back then it was not from something being crammed in my ear or a Thumper in the car trunk, but simply from big-assed speakers attached to big-assed amps cranked to bone-shattering levels. Long live Rock 'n Roll!