Monday, October 12, 2009

Important Information from the Consumer Electronics Association

I'm of the general opinion that the sense of hearing is not overrated in being at least in the top 5 senses. The good people at the Consumer Electronics Association apparently agree, and are willing to stump for the preservation of hearing, as opposed to say, smell, which sense probably doesn't help them sell anything as widely marketable as iPods. (But come to think of it 'SniffPods' might be worth looking into.)

So I unwrapped my new Sony IC recorder today and felt the warmth of a faceless corporate interest group giving me love and looking out for my interest with an informative pamphlet on the importance of enjoying sound at moderate volume. Because at CEA "We Want You Listening for a Lifetime." How's that for dovetailing consumer protection with the corporate interest of lifetime customer value? Peddlers of sound got to know that those who most love that sound stand the greatest risk of losing the ability to hear it. If only drug dealers were so conscientious.

The pamphlet goes into some examples of decibel levels to define the spectrum of suitable noise exposure. Your basic day to day experiences go from the 30 decibels of 'Quiet library, soft whispers' to the 80 decibels of 'Average city traffic, garbage disposals, alarm clock at two feet.' Koans of thumb for daily life in the great puzzle of preserving one's hearing.

But then we're stepped up to a curious array of warnings.
The Following Noises Can Be Dangerous Under Constant Exposure:
90    Subway, motorcycle, truck traffic, lawn mower
100  Garbage truck, chain saw, pneumatic drill
120  Rock band concert in front of speakers, thunderclap
140  Gunshot blast, jet plane
180  Rocket launching pad
Questions to the CEA: is this the best scenario you could think of to end your list? Was the Quality Assurance team getting expansive or somehow otherwise occupied when this list of bullet-pointed potential encounters snuck through approval?

Then, it's possibly just me who's way out of touch with that great swath of population living 'under constant exposure' to rocket launching pads.

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