Thursday, September 24, 2009

Loud Talkers of the Future

It's going to be a noisy world in the next few years, and in about thirty, all the old folks around the towns are going to be talking loudly. What is now considered a reasonable speaking volume will increase by about two thirds. Why? Earbuds, earphones, headphones, call 'em what you will. Up close, constant, insistent: the cilia can't rest.

An audiology specialist I know says two factory workers can work side by side for thirty years, one goes deaf, the other doesn't. Science isn't sure why. So, some people will keep their hearing no matter how bombarded their cochlei, but others? The half who maintain their hearing will still have to raise their voices for the ones who haven't.

How can I be so sure of this? It's already happening. How do I know? I hear them:

I hear them behind me at the store
I hear them in the restroom stalls
I hear them across the plaza square
I hear their echoes throughout the halls
Soft responses bring a wince of query
for what they sense but can't quite heary.

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