Assaulting my ears is as bad as polluting my lungs
A European initiative to restrict how loud you can listen to your iPod could vastly improve your next public transport experience.
In the latest attempt to protect us from ourselves, the European Union this week proposed an 80 decibel limit on the volume level on portable music players.
This, their scientists say, would protect the five to ten per cent of music listeners who crank it up a little too loud from damaging their hearing.
Now, I don’t have any evidence to support this, but I think it’s fairly safe to assume that Australians love turning up their music just as much as Europeans… in fact, it’s pretty hard to find a young person these days sans earphones.
So, naturally there are people here who hold similar concerns that many of us younger folk are ruining our hearing.
The Australian Medical Association is one group that reckons a lower volume limit is a top idea, because it says many of us, with the help of quality earphones, are listening to music at more than 100 decibels for hours on end.
Anything much above 90, the doctors say, could put you at risk of permanent hearing loss.
So what, you say? If people want to ruin their ears, that’s up to them, right? It’s no different from drinking, smoking and drug-taking, right?
I’d indignantly say that too… except when it comes to my pet peeve - overly loud music on public transport.
We don’t let people smoke on the train, we don’t let people drink on the bus… but, we do let people enforce their music upon us.
Hop on a train in peak hour and see for yourself. Try to find a carriage free from the din of some guy’s dance mix pumping from his headphones.
Or witness the strange social behaviour of commuters who obviously want that geeky-looking guy with Tool screaming from his earphones to turn it down, but for some reason, they don’t ask him.
People just tolerate it. We just expect it. It’s part of modern life apparently.
Well, it shouldn’t be, and maybe a volume limit on music players could help bring back your right not to listen to someone else’s dubious music collection.
And for those who say it’s the nanny State gone mad, just think about it - the people polluting your ears on the train now will be the ones needing even louder music in the future when their hearing loss kicks in.
That cacophony of dance beats, power chords and auto-tuned r&b is only going to get louder and louder on your early morning trip to work.
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