Monday, September 21, 2009

My New Best Friends

It's been a long time since I've worked in any industrial settings. Back in those days I used to carry around things like safety glasses and earplugs all the time, since I regularly needed them.

This weekend, I came to love earplugs again.

I've been having trouble hearing people lately. It just seems like select people are mumbling most of the time. Asking them to speak louder doesn't help me, since loud doesn't seem to equate to clear. As we packed the family into the car Saturday morning to head to a nephew's birthday party I grabbed (on a whim) a pair of earplugs from my travel kit. I had a bit of a headache and the kids were pretty riled up so I was already expecting a loud ride. Add to that Stef's recent fondness of playing books-on-tape type stories for the kids in the car using her little speaker she bought and the earplugs seem more and more attractive.

What I didn't expect is that they would help me hear better. With the road noise and most of the incidental passenger sounds pushed down, I was actually able to hear and understand voices better. In Manchester, MI later that day I was able to understand the announcer with the bullhorn just fine with the earplugs in. Without them her voice was just an incomprehensible buzz/echo.

The only downside is that people think I'm avoiding listening to them when I wear the earplugs, an irony I'd say since wearing them results in me understanding more. I think wearing earplugs is less detached looking than wearing headphones, since headphones always give the impression that you are listening to something else, whereas earplugs mean you are just listening to less.

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