by Mary Ellen Eagan
I’m often asked what it must be like to be the child of a two-parent noise family (my husband is a member of the Acoustics Facility within the Environmental Measurement and Modeling Division at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Research, and Innovative Technology Administration, John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. Here’s a sample.
We had ‘science weekend’ in our house (this, based on the theory that we did not ‘push’ science hard enough with the 12-year old when she was young – no time like the present to work on the 5-year old!). Most of the afternoon was devoted to making slime and other forms of goo, but we spent the evening doing a family hearing test (why, of course we have all the equipment in our house to do that!). Here are the findings:
- David needs hearing aids. The years of flying and too much rock and roll have taken their toll. I now have scientific data (which he collected himself) to justify my increasing frustration at simple requests to take out the garbage (though that can also be ascribed to ‘selective hearing’, but that’s the subject of another post).
- I have lost some hearing, typical of a middle-aged woman (who perhaps listened to too much rock and roll in an earlier – and more fun – stage of my life).
- Molly has a gap in her hearing at 100 Hertz. As in, there’s nothing there. Apparently her iPod has been tuned too loud for too long. There must be something about the Lady Gagabeat. In any case, her iPod has been taken away for three months, to see if she can restore the hearing in that frequency. Here’s a good articledetailing the hazards of listening to your iPod, if you want to learn more.
- And Greta seems to be able to hear pure tones at frequencies as high as 60,000 Hertz. Which makes her a dog. Or perhaps a cat. We’re going to double-check on it (and now David wants to test all the kids in the neighborhood), but suffice it to say it was pretty incredible.
Moral of the story: Turn your iPod down, and tell your kids to do so, too.