Julian Brenman ’20
“Sorry, could you repeat that? I had my earbuds in.” Chances are, as a student at Friends’ Central, you’ve heard this phrase recited by fellow community members many times. While some love tuning out to their own beats while roaming campus, others feel it’s a distracting, isolating, and harmful habit. I am one of those people. Continue reading to discover why.
One of the main benefits of attending school is having the chance to interact with interesting people. Meeting new friends, interacting with teachers, laughing with peers, and even listening to others chat enhances the experience, both as a student and as a person. When somebody has headphones in, he or she loses the ability to to do all of the things above, which could harm their social skills in the long term.
Wearing headphones presents a safety issue. Suppose you are taking a stroll far from the school buildings, while suddenly, the fire alarm sounds. If you didn’t have headphones in, you would probably be able to hear. If music were blasting directly into your ears, chances are, you would miss the alarm. Wearing headphones has proven to be a safety issue while walking on the road, as many people have been hit by cars, just because they didn’t hear the car approaching. It’s only a matter of time before similar dangers threaten headphoners on campus.
I’m not the only one who thinks headphones don’t belong in school. Mrs. Linda Quinlan, who teaches algebra, pre-calculus, and statistics, “hears” me out. She says, “I think when people have earphones in, they miss out on the really important things that are happening around them, such as a possible conversation, or even the background noise created by the community. While I do think occasional use for special in-class activities, or studying in the library is okay, for the majority of the time, they should remain in backpacks.”
My grandfather, Dr. Arnold Brenman, was among the top ear doctors in America for over three decades. According to him, wearing headphones or earbuds for excessive periods of time causes problems that are beyond social. “Noise induced sensorineural is a condition caused when a person is exposed to too much sound for too long. Wearing headphones or earbuds can cause this. If you can feel the sound while wearing, limit your listening to a maximum of one hour per day. However, the safest thing to do is not listen at all at that intensity. Music doesn’t have to be loud to be good. Also, if somebody next to you can hear the sound, it’s too loud. For the sake of your health, it’s important to be cautious about excess noises and exposure.” He later shares a story about his days in the practice. “I had a patient’s typical hearing pattern on record. Then, she came to the office the day after attending a rock concert, and complained of hearing loss. Though she recovered, the hearing loss was caused because she was listening to music at such a high volume.”
So, to avoid missing key social experiences, getting run over by a car, or contributing to your own hearing loss, leave headphones and earbuds at home, and listen to music at low volumes while using.