I’ve walked past students on our campus … students who were plugged into iPods and other MP3 players … and heard the music loud enough that I could successfully compete in Name That Tune. Well, I could if I knew that tune. It seems that the majority of students walking from class to class are not having in-person conversations with classmates or friends; instead they are walking alone, talking on cell phones, texting or listening to their personal playlists. And the music on those playlists can be very loud.
My generation is familiar with loud music. In the days when concert tickets cost $5, we Baby Boomers crowded into arenas to hear bands that were known for high volume performances, bands like Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night, Jethro Tull and Yes. Conversation was impossible during the concert and there often was ringing in my ears when the show ended and lights came up. Decades later, many of us are noticing the long-term effects of the rock ’n’ roll music we heard in our teens and 20s.
Today’s college students still attend loud concerts. But, unlike the Boomers, they also regularly listen to music piped directly into their ears. Results of a study by students of BU faculty Pam Smith and Tom Zalewski, featured in the spring 2012 issue of Bloomsburg: The University Magazine, confirmed what I’d long imagined: hearing damage could be in their future if students don’t turn the volume down a few notches … and do it now.
Turn Down the Volume is one example of the News You Can Use features we include from time to time. Past topics have focused on tanning beds, healthy menu selections and golf stretching exercises. Do you have a suggestion for a story based on research by BU students or faculty? Send your ideas for future News You Can Use features to firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Bonnie Martin, Editor