Hop on pop: Turn it down! While you can still hear | TheUnion.com

Hop on pop: Turn it down! While you can still hear

I like my music loud. No, really. Loud. There’s loud, circular-saw loud and jet-airplane loud, and I like it about five clicks above that.

I’m sure I woke up the neighbors recently when listening to The Desert Sessions’ searing instrumental testament to hard rock, “Covered in Punks’ Blood.” The song is exactly as menacing as the title indicates.

But a peculiar thing happened. As it blared out of my speakers, I thought to myself, “Hmm. This is kinda loud.”

My initial reaction to that thought was that I should turn it up louder just to show my ears who’s boss, but I ultimately knocked it down a few digits.

In fact, I’ve been decreasing the volume on a lot of things lately because I’m worried about doing permanent damage to my hearing. Maybe I’m going soft in my old age and being overly self-conscious, but between my car stereo, my iPod and my home system, I fear I’m on the path to becoming the deaf, dumb and blind kid who sure plays a mean pinball.

I’m young enough to do something about my worries, though. I want to appreciate musical delights such as “Covered in Punks’ Blood” for the rest of my life, however long that might be. Since I’m hoping that is a while from now, I don’t want to have this discussion with a friend when my hearing has reached this point:

Friend: “You’re worried about what?”

Me: “Sorry. What did you ask? I couldn’t hear you.”

Friend: “Are you worried about your ear drums?”

Me: “Fear plums? What the &#$! are fear plums?”

Friend: “Not fear plums, numb nuts! Ear drums!”

Me: “There aren’t any snare drums on this song!”

You get the picture.

I worry about this scenario for others, as well.

I’m concerned about users of iPods, Rios, Djs, etc., who pop in those wonderful, tiny ear-bud headphones.

Years of using those will work out dandy when we’re spending our declining years explaining that we can’t hear an airhorn if you jammed one up our noses because the volume on those headphones was about as loud as a Chinook helicopter.

It’s no shocking secret that prolonged exposure to loud noises diminishes your hearing. But what isn’t so easily discernible is that even those people who listen to their music at a moderate volume for extended periods of time can do damage because of the lengthened exposure, despite the diminished volume.

Additionally, we live in a simply noisy world – workplaces, “white noise,” noisy restaurants, sporting events, rock concerts, etc. Your chances of having hindered hearing are even greater.

So, listen up while you still can.

If you wanna rock out when you’re so old you have to eat bratwurst with a straw, I have three simple words of advice: Turn it down.

Sure, turning it down is for nerds, but you know what? I’m gonna be the nerd who can still hear the music when I’m in my 60s. It’s hip to be square.

You’re never too old to rock, of course, but if you can’t hear it, what’s the point?


The name Hop on Pop is the title of a 1963 book by Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel. Nick DeCicco is a copy editor and pop culture columnist for The Union. He may be reached via e-mail at nickd@theunion.com or by phone at 477-4270.

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