Tag Archives: IPod

Turn Down The Noise

I am reposting an article that was published on August 17, 2010 by Carla K. Johnson, a medical writer. I cannot tell you how many times I have sat in the halls at the community college where I work, and have heard students approach before I have ever seen them coming. So many of them wear their ear buds between classes, to get from point A to point B, I have often thought the constant noise has to be having some kind of impact on their hearing.

Turns out, it is.

Study: 1 in 5 US teenagers has slight hearing loss

CHICAGO — A stunning one in five teens has lost a little bit of hearing, and the problem has increased substantially in recent years, a new national study has found. Some experts are urging teenagers to turn down the volume on their digital music players, suggesting loud music through earbuds may be to blame – although hard evidence is lacking. They warn that slight hearing loss can cause problems in school and set the stage for hearing aids in later life.

“Our hope is we can encourage people to be careful,” said the study’s senior author, Dr. Gary Curhan of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

The researchers analyzed data on 12- to 19-year-olds from a nationwide health survey. They compared hearing loss in nearly 3,000 kids tested from 1988-94 to nearly 1,800 kids tested over 2005-06.

While the researchers didn’t single out iPods or any other device for blame, they found a significant increase in high-frequency hearing loss, which they said may indicate that noise caused the problems. And they cited a 2010 Australian study that linked use of personal listening devices with a 70 percent increased risk of hearing loss in children.

“I think the evidence is out there that prolonged exposure to loud noise is likely to be harmful to hearing, but that doesn’t mean kids can’t listen to MP3 players,” Curhan said.

Loud music isn’t new, of course. Each new generation of teenagers has found a new technology to blast music _ from the bulky headphones of the 1960s to the handheld Sony Walkmans of the 1980s. [But] today’s young people are listening longer, more than twice as long as previous generations, said Brian Fligor, an audiologist at Children’s Hospital Boston. The older technologies had limited battery life and limited music storage, he said.

[And] some young people turn their digital players up to levels that would exceed federal workplace exposure limits, said Fligor. In Fligor’s own study of about 200 New York college students, more than half listened to music at 85 decibels or louder. That’s about as loud as a hair dryer or a vacuum cleaner.

Bottom line, if you can hear someone’s music playing while their earbuds are in, they are probably listening to their music at too loud of a decibel. And while they may hate you, you would be doing them a big favor in asking them to dial down the noise.

Do you let your kids use ear buds? Do you feel they use them at a reasonable listening level? Would you feel comfortable asking a stranger to turn down his/her music?

To Touch or not to Touch?: That is the Question

My soon-to-be 6th grade son will attend the school that is  — literally — in my backyard. I’m not kidding. If you stand in my kitchen and look outside, it’s right there: A two-story brick building, designed to look like a dairy farm. If I were a better golfer, I could hit it with my 7 iron. My husband can probably hit it with his sand wedge; it’s that close.

People have warned me that my child will have “no social life” if he doesn’t have a cell phone with a texting plan because kids these days only communicate via text. I am inclined to pshaw this argument because I truly believe that if someone wants to hang out with my son, that kid will resort to (gasp) calling him on our land-line. Yes, that child might have to talk to an adult for a second or two, but it’s my understanding that I’m kinda okay to talk to, so, until I hear otherwise, I’m not worrying about that.

I’ve also been given the “safety” argument from practically everyone, as if having this device will somehow make him safer. I am fortunate to live in somewhat of an old-fashioned neighborhood where people look out for each others’ kids a little bit. If my son can’t get into our house – which would be really a rare instance because he knows the code to our keypad and has the key to the inside door in his back-pack –  he has a Plan B, a Plan C and a Plan D with regard to which neighbors’ homes he might go. He doesn’t need to call me at the point of the problem. He can try to solve his problem and call me when he gets to his destination and let me know where he is. I try to follow the “safety” argument. I get the idea that if your kid is out riding a bike and she falls or her tire pops or the chain fell off, well . . . I suppose a cell phone would be nice so she could call you and say, “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up,” or “My bike is busted,” but assuming there was no real injury – wouldn’t you just want her to get up all by herself, brush herself off, and push the bike home? Because I’m thinking that’s when kids feel a kind of strength, a kind of confidence in handling a problem themselves – without the adult swooping in for the rescue. And if my kid is in THAT bad of shape, somebody, please . . .  call an ambulance. Oh, and I feel compelled to remind you — the school is about 75 yards away. Maybe. How much trouble can he get into between here and there?

Currently, my son and I have an understanding. I don’t want to be the crazy mother out there screaming his name at 7 o’clock when it is time to eat dinner, so he tells me where he is going and if he changes location, he asks politely to use the telephone to call me. This system works beautifully. (For now.) I know where he is; he doesn’t need a cell phone. And I don’t have to be attached to my technology either, waiting for a bing or a ping.

My son’s 11th birthday is fast approaching. He has not asked for a cell phone, but he has asked for an iPod Touch. In my mind, this device brings its own set of problems. It’s expensive. It requires Wi-Fi to send text — which is not always available. I worry less about his social life than about his grammar deteriorating with all the stoooopid abbreviations. He is only just beginning to learn the nuances of conventional grammar, and studies suggest texting interferes with all of that. Texting will also open him up to the not-so wonderful world of cyber-bullying. On the other hand, having an iPod Touch would hold all his music and his old first generation Nano has long been maxed out.

image from google.com

It is the only thing he wants for his birthday.

Still, it seems premature. He’s only 11.

I know adults don’t always want to blab with the chatty parents who are hosting the sleepover, that it is easier to text

im outside

than to get out of the car and go inside and get the child. Isn’t that the real reason we give our children devices with texting plans? For our convenience? To me, it seems like an inconvenience. I simply don’t want to be that attached to my phone. And what is he really getting: a fancy iPod with the ability to play games? Well, he can do that on the computer. And I can set limits on the computer. Right now, when he’s on for an hour, the computer gives him a warning at the “15 minutes remaining” mark and again at the “one minute remaining” mark and then it logs him off. I don’t have the ability to do that with a portable device. (Do I?) What types of rules do people have in place for these things?

Somebody help me out. What is my problem? Am I making much ado about nothing?  What rules have you put in place? What has (or hasn’t) worked for you? What should we expect if we get him one of these gadgets?