Ramblings

by Carlo Longino




MP3 Player-Caused Hearing Loss Is Music To One Company's Ears

from the there's-an-opportunity-in-everything dept

From time to time, somebody pops up with a story about how MP3 players are going to make their owners deaf, and inevitably, political stunts and lawsuits follow. But not everybody minds: the CEO of hearing-aid maker Phonak has forecast strong growth his company, saying that young people listening to their music players too loudly will create a "a hearing loss bubble in years to come". While the company may be rubbing its hands in expectation of a booming market, it had better hope that class-action lawyers, or overzealous politicians trying to protect the stupid, don't screw things up for it.

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  • identicon
    Alowishus, 16 Nov 2006 @ 4:42am

    Walkman

    They said the same thing in the 80's w/ all the sony walkman's and more so when the "oh god no..." ear bud style headphones came out. Where are all the deaf 30 somethings's?
    I've still got my hearing, well except for the higher tones that is... :/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      comboman, 16 Nov 2006 @ 6:04am

      Re: Walkman

      They said the same thing in the 80's w/ all the sony walkman's and more so when the "oh god no..." ear bud style headphones came out. Where are all the deaf 30 somethings's?

      Speak up and stop mumbling, I can't hear you!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael Long, 16 Nov 2006 @ 5:04am

    Missing feature

    Just to lobby for my favorite missing iPod feature: automatic volume leveling.

    Anyone who's tried to use a pod or MP3 player in a noisy environment like a city street or a subway knows that you have to keep fiddling with it to hear the music or the audiobook when a bus or train or whatnot goes by. Most say the heck with it, and just leave the volume cranked up, potentially leading to the issues and problems mentioned in the article.

    If Apple were to add a mic to the pod, however, they could automatically raise, and lower, the pod's volume to compensate for changes to the environment. Up when noisy, down when quiet.

    Not to mention adding a mic lets you do nosie cancellation, voice recording, on-the-go podcast creation, classroom note taking......

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Scottitude, 16 Nov 2006 @ 5:38am

    Want a mic? Buy a better brand!

    If Apple were to add a mic to the pod, however, they could automatically raise, and lower, the pod's volume to compensate for changes to the environment. Up when noisy, down when quiet.
    Not to mention adding a mic lets you do noise cancellation, voice recording, on-the-go podcast creation, classroom note taking......

    Simply adding a mic won't work to cancel noise and adjust the volume according to ambient noise, the software would need to be tweaked too. As for mics and direct recording in general, iPod is only one brand of MP3 player and loads of others have built-in mics and recording capabilities right out of the box.

    iPods are neither the first nor the best players on the market, they're simply the ones with the most effective advertising.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Michael Long, 16 Nov 2006 @ 6:18am

      Re: Want a mic? Buy a better brand!

      "Simply adding a mic won't work to cancel noise and adjust the volume according to ambient noise, the software would need to be tweaked too."

      Well duh! I assumed that Apple would be smart enough to make the features work. Apparently you don't want to give them even that much credit.

      But, yes, they need to add the mic, AND the software, AND the interface. Do I need to mention the little wire that connects the mic to the circuit board too?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rico J. Halo, 16 Nov 2006 @ 5:40am

    the nanny state

    I dont understand this line:

    While the company may be rubbing its hands in expectation of a booming market, it had better hope that class-action lawyers, or overzealous politicians trying to protect the stupid, don't screw things up for it.

    What can the lawyers or politicians do? Make listening to loud music illegal? Legislation that MP3 players only paly a certain loudness? The hand wringers said the same thing about us listening to music too loud form regular speakers when I was a kid. There's a certain type of individual that just has to try and control the lives of others.

    www.thatpoliticalblog.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark, London, 16 Nov 2006 @ 6:38am

    Relative

    Most people listen to music, if everyone's ears suffer around the same amount of loss then we will all start speaking louder. Noone will suspect a thing!

    Or, we just blame it on old age.

    I have glasses because I use a computer, I'm not going to sue the makers of the TFT screens or my old company's for making me sit infront of a computer.

    It's all relative.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2006 @ 7:18am

    Forget the noise cancelling

    Why can't my ipod play all my MP3's at the same level. I have to adjust the volume after every track (I ripped my CD's years ago with old software. I'm not doing it again)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lewis Salem, 16 Nov 2006 @ 1:35pm

      Re: Forget the noise cancelling

      I agree. A simple software audio normalization could fix this problem. You would think that Apple could do this easily as it is converting the format anyways.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ajax 4Hire, 16 Nov 2006 @ 7:21am

    If lawsuit forces lower volume, then

    If lawsuit forces lower volume, then someone will jump in and make a volume booster that splices into the headset wire. Someone will make a small amplifier that runs off a single AAA battery that boost the volume from the iPod or MP3 player. I know they make splitters that split the headphone output to two or more headphones.

    Just look at the automotive industry.
    Cars are shipped with fairly anemic sound-system.
    You want more volume, get an aftermarket sound-system.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nick, 16 Nov 2006 @ 7:25am

    Scottitude I don't think you understood the point of Michael Long's post. He was simply talking about adjusting the volume on the ipod, not cancelling noise. In addition to this fact you can buy noise cancelling headphones already that produce inverse waves. What you CAN'T do as far as his post was concerned was have your ipod automatically adjust volume, which would be a nice feature for those of us without noise cancelling headphones. Take this a step further, do you work for a rival brand? I think everyone knows that ipod's are not the only mp3 players on the market and as far as I know even though others have microphones, none do what Michael Long was suggesting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    RiskyMethodz, 16 Nov 2006 @ 7:28am

    A mic on an ipod would not do much good to adjust volume when it's almost always snugly in your pocket.

    Mics would need to be on the earbuds...


    Oh gosh, noise cancelling headphones?! I dream of the day.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Howard Lee Harkness, 16 Nov 2006 @ 7:40am

      Re: noise cancelling headphones

      "Oh gosh, noise cancelling headphones?! I dream of the day."

      The technology has been around and commercially available for years, so I assume you are joking. I have a set of ANC earbuds that I bought 3 years ago.

      BTW, the new ANC headsets are definitely getting better.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nick, 16 Nov 2006 @ 7:56am

    RiskyMethodz,

    Microphones still work even in your pocket, amazingly enough. What the microphone would be detecting is changes in the ambiant noise, doesn't need to know what Bill is saying 20 feet away.

    As for the "Oh gosh, noise cancelling headphones?! I dream of the day"....I hope you are joking.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Old Guy, 16 Nov 2006 @ 8:41am

    I wish my RIO PMP 300 had a microphone...It would do much good for recording though since my 32MB smart media card is full with my entire MP3 collection (all 6 songs of it)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Foo Yuck, 16 Nov 2006 @ 9:12am

    This ain't it

    Forget hearing aids. The real money is in tattoo and piercing removal as all these moronic sheep who rammed a spike through their penis to impress their friends suddenly realize that they look like dingleberries. It's hard to impress corporate America with a kanji representation of "Wind Cheese Elbow" prominently (and permanently) etched on your throat, but maybe you can get a show on Bravo, the network for fudgepackers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2006 @ 9:27am

      Re: This ain't it

      I may be mistaken, but I have a nagging feeling that Bravo's sexual orientation, idiots playing follow-the-leader, and mistranslated kanji have nothing to do with what we're currently discussing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    PhysicsGuy, 16 Nov 2006 @ 9:23am

    Re: Relative

    since when do computers cause sight loss? at the most they cause headaches/eye strain because you have your refresh rate set too high and tunnel vision because you're not smart enough to look away every now and then... if you ask me, you have glasses because of your genes... granted, i am no optometrist but i have horrible vision (infants can see things clearly 10 inches away from their face; things get blurry for me at about 5 inches. not to mention horrible astigmatism) and i questioned my eye doctor, his response: computers don't cause a sight loss.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2006 @ 9:24am

    hey, it's fooyuck. everyone favorite colset homosexual!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kibbles, 16 Nov 2006 @ 9:29am

    I use the little menu on the ipod, myself

    I purposely set my kid's ipod up so they can't blast it...it does have that feature and it isn't worth going through all the menus for them to change it. They don't notice when they have it on way too loud, but when I lowered the max volume, they didn't complain.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2006 @ 11:26am

    Overuse and abuse of any technology can hurt you. I know my hearing is mildly affected by my music, I always blast it in the car and I always blast it in my headphones.

    The only reason I do so is my father, who never had either media outlet to do so, is losing his hearing at 50, so it's already in the cards for me. Might as well live it up while I can. My family is sexy and healthy until 30 then we inflate like blimps, lose our hair, teeth, eyesight and hearing. Then at 65 we lose our minds.

    So screw it I'm gonna have some fun.

    Abuse your body in any way, you will pay the consequences, but most likely you're going to be blind deaf and dumb by the time that happens so go for it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nick, 16 Nov 2006 @ 12:36pm

    I can't wait!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    glenn, 16 Nov 2006 @ 2:46pm

    better 'phones for your hearing, no noise cancella

    I just use the in-ear headphones -- it sounds like in could be worse for you, but they're really effective at blocking noise, so I can listen to music at a reasonable volume (you could hear a car honking, but even without any volume, on a busy street the loudest thing you hear is your breathing). They sound much better than bud headphones as well. Some people don't like sticking 'em into their ear canal, though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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