Showing posts with label headphones. Show all posts
Showing posts with label headphones. Show all posts

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Earphones can kill you

Accident at Earphoned
Despite the number of fatalities from iPod oblivion (the act of walking on roads with earphones) Delhiites do not seem to be taking the menace seriously. We went out to explore...

It's human to err, but on the road, it can prove fatal. Especially when you have earphones on, and cannot hear approaching traffic. The menace of iPod oblivion, or the act of walking on road with your headphones on, is fast becoming one of the major causes of accidents on roads, and the capital too has seen its share of similar cases in the past couple of months. In November last year, 21-year-old DU student Priya Jain, was killed on Vikas Marg when she was hit by a bike and then a bus, since she had her earphones on and couldn't hear approaching traffic.

And the cases are only taking place more frequently now. Satyendra Garg, Joint CP, traffic, says that there has been a rise in such cases since the past 5-6 months, and even to the authorities, it is astonishing to see pedestrians risk their lives in such a manner. He adds, "It's astonishing how careless people can be, especially with their life. Crossing roads while listening to music is dangerous not only for them, but also for others who are commuting on road. One such incident happened in Karol Bagh, where this guy, who was crossing the road while listening to music, didn't hear the horn of an approaching car, which resulted in an accident. The car driver, while trying to save that guy, lost control and banged into a motorbike. These people are not only endangering their lives, but many others too."

Fact is, say doctors that shutting themselves from the world through earphones, can make pedestrians oblivious to approaching traffic, and also reduce their reaction time in case of an emergency situation. And the rise in the number of fatal mishaps happening due to earphone use on roads has also lead to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences' (AIIMS) Trauma Centre to conduct a study on it.

But as far as taking concrete steps to generate awareness are concerned, Garg says not much can be done, adding, "Apart from creating awareness through advertisements and campaigns, there is nothing else that can be done. But it is very strange - education de bhi toh kya - everyone knows that any sort of distraction while crossing the road should be avoided. Now if people chose to be so careless, I don't know how much of our educating campaigns will help? But we will run a few ads on radio and print... They're all pedestrians, and we can't punish them with a challan or anything. And what should we punish them for, when they are ready to pay such a high price - with their life - anyway."

News by The Times of India

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Your headphones can turn you deaf

You could be turning deaf because of your headphones. Our expert lists a guide of what you should avoid while listening to your favourite tracks on the go

Is music your safe haven from the hellish traffic jams you travel through everyday? You might need to re-think this strategy. Drowning out incessant honking on our potholeridden roads with Comfortably Numb, might just be numbing your eardrums for life. Like Rajeev Khandelwal who loses his hearing in Soundtrack, thanks to his constant use of headphones as a DJ; the actor's on-screen nightmare can actually become your reality.

In today's world of iPods and phones that can play music, most people are plugged in constantly. Our expert Dr Nishit Shah, ENT consultant at Bombay Hospital tells you what you can do to avoid losing your sense of sound.

Play it loud

Listening to music at half the volume your player is obviously not damaging. It all depends on the volume and how long you are listening to it. Shah says, "There are guidelines laid down by World Health Organization as to what decibels are permissible. Most workplaces and music player manufacturers adhere to these guidelines. But constant exposure is still a problem." Cranking up the volume for longer periods of time is very dangerous, and can lead to partial deafness. The higher the volume gets the lesser amount of time the ear can take it.

Uncomfortably numb

Unlike people who go deaf during a bomb blast or hearing the sonic boom of a plane, deafness caused by headphones creeps on you and if not checked, the effects can be adverse. "I have seen people who show no obvious signs of deafness when they are young, can hardly hear anything when they reach their 60s." Studies show that this is common among people who go for a lot of concerts and clubs. Shah says, "Deafness caused due to listening to music does not happen overnight. The ear warns you before things can get really bad with tinnitus.

You get a ringing sound in your ear, which means hearing loss is imminent. When you exit a club, your ears feel relieved and you can't hear too well immediately. That's because your ears are adapting to the new environment."

In fact, Shah says that moving from an extremely loud place (like a club) to an extremely quiet place can be more damaging than exposing yourself to higher decibels for longer.

Right hear, right now

Studies have shown that other than musicians and people in studios who want to listen to intricate sounds of a particular track, most people listen to music on headphones loudly to drown out background noise. The standard ear piece or even normal headphones are no good. Shah recommends using in-ear headsets or noise reduction/cancellation headphones that naturally drown out background noise. He says, "People who use these headsets have a tendency to listen to music at a lower volume anyway. So, if you want to listen to something throughout the day this would be the best way to avoid loss of hearing."

The cure

The scariest part about losing your hearing ability is that there is nothing you can do to regain it. The strongest preventive drug doctors prescribe is "common sense". Shah says, "Most people don't buy headphones because of quality, they buy it because it is loud enough. How do you tell people otherwise? You have to be aware of what is happening to your ears. As soon as you feel any discomfort, take a break. You cannot listen to music loudly for eight hours in a row. This will obviously affect your hearing."

If you feel like you are losing your sense of hearing, head to an ENT immediately. In the first few days of being affected, your hearing can be repaired with the help of steroids, but very few people actually spot the impediment so soon. Then, of course, there are hearing aids. These are used when the damage is already done though, and you want to avoid that altogether.

Just how much is too much?

Research suggests that risk of permanent hearing loss goes up with just five minutes of exposure a day to music at full volume. Traffic noise is at about 70 to 80 decibels. If you're trying to drown this out, you will hit dangerous decibel levels. Listening to earbuds, or in-ear headphones, for 90 minutes a day at 80 percent volume is probably safe. However, different brands have different volumes and that needs to be factored into the decision to buy headsets.

News by ThetimesofIndia

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