No ear for danger

DISTURBING TREND

Do you know that listening to music with earphones can be fatal sometimes?

Oblivious : Listening to music on earphones while walking on the road can prove fatal.

In a recent incident in the City, a 35-year-old man lost his life while he was listening to music with his earphones plugged in.

The reason — he was mowed down by a speeding train while crossing the tracks near Azadpur Flyover.

 Terming this a dangerous addiction, Dr Deepak Agarwal, a neurosurgeon at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Trauma Centre, said, “Using earphones deflects attention and affects hearing sensitivity, resulting in mishaps which can be fatal.
This is the reason behind most pedestrians receiving injuries which amount to around 50 per cent accidents these days.”

Apart from the possibility of being hit by a vehicle, “listening to music can be hazardous to one’s hearing ability.” Dr Agarwal asks music lovers to refrain from using earphones for long duration, “It’s recommended that one make minimal use of headphones because they reduce the sense of hearing high-pitched sounds and can actually destroy one’s hearing ability over time.’’

Many such cases have surfaced in the recent past. Last year, two school boys were mowed down by a train in Ghaziabad. In a similar case, a 21-year-old girl died after she was hit by a bike and then a bus because of the same reason. The number of victims is on the rise and this surely is a disturbing trend.

A study published by a foreign journal revealed that listening to music while walking is three times more dangerous, a claim substantiated by recent deaths and injuries happening to people with headphones and earphones plugged in.

So how distractive is this trend? Metrolife spoke to some music lovers who use earphones while on the move. Syed Shahid, a network engineer says, “I usually love listening to music on the go and earphones are a blessing.

The fact that they block the outside noise makes them better, but I would still go for conventional earphones over the in-ear ones, which block the outside noise completely.”

However, he accepts the need for caution while walking or crossing roads, “I think it’s better to remove them for a while or reduce the volume while walking or crossing busy roads. Personal safety is of utmost importance,” he adds. Archana, a team leader at an MNC, loves music more than anything else.

But she knows where to draw the line. “I’m in love with music and listening to it on the move is fun and de-stressing. But people need to draw the line when there is the danger of losing your life to this addiction. Banning people from listening to it while walking on the roads can curb the dangers that it poses to them.”

Australia and the US are mulling laws to ban the use of earphones while walking on the streets. But is banning a viable alternative? “I don’t think that a ban is solution for all our problems. We can simply be more careful,” says Binu Agnihotri, a software professional.

She goes on to say that it’s not just music that can spell danger, even messaging and chatting while on the move can be fatal sometimes. “I believe messaging and chatting while on the move is equally dangerous. No one is travelling all the time. So people can listen to music at home and be more responsible and careful for their own lives and that of others as well,” she says.

Sandeep Kumar also believes that being careful is the best solution. “I think it’s better to be careful than being prohibited from something we all love,” he says.
The message is loud and clear. Watch out and keep it low while on the go.

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