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Good Hearing Is Always In Fashion March 5, 2008

Posted by Mrs Weird Scientist in Easy As Pie, Human Body, Psychology and Behavior.
Tags: , , ,
Ear Plugs

Good hearing is fashionable. Or at least, it should be. Unfortunately, ear plugs aren’t generally considered an attractive and stylish accessory. The ugly reputation of ear plugs, however, will hopefully change. In fact, that change better come soon because hearing damage can happen more easily than you may think!

According to the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID), just a single night out listening to loud, booming music is enough to experience the initial signs of hearing loss. Generally, if a person is repeatedly exposed to 85 decibels or more of noise, they can sustain hearing damage. Given that loads of music concerts and other places have noise well above this amount, you can see how easy it is to harm your hearing.

Listen Up!

So perhaps you have been exposed to some loud noise already and you’re wondering what kinds of symptoms you might experience? Check out the list below to read about some of the symptoms of hearing damage:

  • Ringing or buzzing in your ears
  • Muted, dull or muffled sound
  • Straining to hear someone speaking

Sometimes, you might experience the first signs of hearing damage immediately after exposure but the symptoms eventually resolve. If you keep getting exposed to the loud noise, however, symptoms can become a lot more uncomfortable and damage is likely to result.

Looking Cool

The RNID conducted a survey of young folk aged 16 to 30 and the results showed that a large proportion of the respondents were not into wearing ear plugs. Why not? A third of them thought ear plugs looked silly, which meant they were not down with wearing them. Did anybody wear them regularly? Unfortunately, a mere 3 percent said they consistently wear ear plugs.

Changing An Image

While knowing that ear plugs are important to prevent hearing damage is one thing, wearing them and not caring how they look (or pretending that you don’t care!) is quite another. I remember when I was in school and I had to get braces for my teeth. I had them in my final year of high-school and I thought they were absolutely hideous. For our class photos, I kept my mouth closed while smiling. Although avoiding braces (crooked teeth) versus not wearing ear plugs (hearing damage) can obviously have hugely different consequences, the idea of image and looking cool still has a major influence on both.

Today, for instance, I see kids choosing funky, bright colors for their braces and the entire image has changed quite a lot since I wore them. Snazzy, neon ear plugs? Well actually, it’s not a bad idea at all. In fact, if you have any fabulous ideas for an ear plug design, why not consider entering the contest created by RNID? After acknowledging that young people just don’t like the look of ear plugs, they decided to start a competition that challenges design students to create a fashionable and appealing alternative to the traditional ear plug. The students who show the most engaging and innovative ideas will receive work placements with some of the nation’s top design agencies. Since pink is my favorite color, I’m hoping someone makes a fashionable, pink ear plug!

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1. Mike - June 27, 2008

I love girls who wear earplugs!!

2. Miss Weird Scientist - June 28, 2008

Well Mike, I can just see the next research study now – the use of earplugs to attract a partner. Hehe. Earplugs and good hearing are always an appealing trait in a partner though! ;)

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