OK, maybe it’s not an actual scientific fact, but it’s a strong hypothesis based on years of personal observation.
Lest you doubt, just ask a teenager a simple question when he or she is walking around the house with an iPod blaring music through the headphones. You get nothing but silence and a blank expression. It makes you wonder if the child has walking-around sense.
I have carried on entire conversations with a headphone-clad teenager only to discover I was talking to myself. If you asked an earbud-wearing teenager how a tornado sounds, the answer would be “like Snoop Dog driving a freight train.”
If a tree crashes to the forest floor and there is no one there to hear it except a teenager in earbuds, does it make a sound? The correct answer is “no.”
And so it is with great enthusiasm that I welcome the latest in headphone technology, the Aftershokz.
According to On Computer columnists Bob and Joy Schwabach, these headphones are based on technology developed for the military. Troops need to communicate with commanders and each other through their radios, but often their lives rely just as heavily on being aware of their surroundings. A soldier can’t afford to wander through a war zone oblivious to all sound.
The new headphones allow a person to hear outside noises — hopefully including unsolicited parental advice — in addition to the music.
They work by sitting in front of the ears rather than on them. The sound is transmitted through the skull instead of through the ears.
As a teen of the ’70s, (that’s 1970s, not 1870s), I routinely listened to music so loud it was transmitted through the ears, skull, skin, bedroom walls and adjacent ZIP codes. When Lynyrd Skynyrd said “turn it up,” I obliged.
That is why today I regularly have to ask people to repeat themselves. All you thoughtful and well-meaning folks who write in to question my IQ should be aware I’m not as stupid as you think, just hard of hearing. So please be more sensitive.
If Aftershokz had coexisted with 8-track tapes, I would appear to be much smarter today. But, alas, it is too late for this member of the Led Zeppelin generation.
There is hope for today’s teens, however. For about 60 bucks, they can hip and hop to Flo Rida, and still hear their parents tell them to take out the trash, unload the dishwasher or mow the lawn.
This ground-breaking technology could make tomorrow’s leaders look much smarter today.
Executive Editor Scott Morris can be reached at 256-740-5721 or scott.morris@TimesDaily.com.