This is a guest blog by Brent Taylor, a social media specialist at METRO.
Today's world feels more connected than ever. The device that is unquestionable in your pocket or purse can bring you closer to friends, family, and your pizza delivery driver. The other side of this coin, however, is that these devices can also isolate people from the world in front of the eyes, and in the focus of this blog, ears.
On a recent Monday morning, I took a "three-seat" approach to my commute. I drove my personal car to the Spring Park & Ride, where I boarded a 204 Spring into downtown and transferred to the 85 Antoine/Washington to reach my final destination at Houston TranStar. On the Park & Ride trip, I'd been enjoying a favorite podcast about film downloaded to my phone.
When I got off at Milam & Preston, I forgot to take my headphones out immediately, and didn't realize they were still in until I began to cross the intersection enroute to my next bus stop. Once I realized I was still listening to the podcast, I took out an earbud and was somewhat taken aback at the volume of noise that flooded my ears. Construction workers, passing traffic on nearby streets, buzzing gate arms at parking garages – downtown Houston is alive!
Modern headphones, even the ones that come included with smartphones, are designed to cancel outside noise so that the listener can focus intently on the audio being produced. The drawback, of course, is that the listener may not hear important noises like honking horns when someone enters an intersection. One suggestion is to only listen using one headphone or earbud, so you can still hear what's happening in the world around you.
The #OneEarOut campaign was started in 2016 when Amanda Kirchner, 20, was killed as she attempted to cross train tracks while wearing noise-canceling headphones. The website includes stories of other people whose lives were taken prematurely in the same circumstances.
It doesn't take much to change your world. Keeping an ear out for warnings could be the difference between life and death.
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