Ever been on public transit and there's that kid with the loud headphones? You know the one: you're sitting at the back. He's sitting at the front. You -- and everyone else on board -- are nodding your heads in unison to the beat of the rhythm.
Well, according to a study published last August by The Journal of the American Medical Association, it is only going to get louder: one in five American teenagers suffers from some form of hearing loss. Most can't hear rustles or whispers and often can't make out consonants like T's or K's. Words like "talk" sound like "aw". Even more depressing, some can't even hear the sound of raindrops hitting the ground.
In this New York Times article, Virginia Heffernan -- who recaps the very intriguing and extremely anti-social history of the headphone -- notes that by simply listening to your iPod at high volumes for more than an hour a day could make you deaf in just five years. The vicious cycle is, of course, that the louder you listen to music in order to drown out other sounds, the louder you will need the music to be as time progresses.
Heffernan warns that the real danger of the Twitter generation isn't an ever decreasing attention span "but that they are going deaf."
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