Feel fortunate if you’re a writer, because while the repair of vision is on the rise in America, hearing is on the wane. Of course, the evolution of hearing loss started with relegation to the elderly. They simply accepted hearing loss as a natural part of aging, despite no experience attending a Lady GaGa concert and nary any distance to a jackhammer. Then the continuing evolution came from rock stars, or those who worked around rock concerts with multi million-dollar sound systems for years. Less than twenty years ago, we were hearing about middle-aged rockers learning how to read lips, plus dealing with tinnitus on the side.
Now we’re dealing with the newest generation enamored of turning up their iPods and not even noticing that the concert, movie or other multimedia they’re watching is gradually making them deafer. It was only the media that finally put forward an acceptance by the populace to acknowledge their own hearing loss. But a number of corporations are about to cash in on this sudden skirmish in preserving what’s left of society’s eardrums through a number of devices intended as sanctuaries from the loudness of the world.
Patents are still pending for one item. However, you may be seeing these unique inventions on the net, your local retail stores, street corners and local movie theaters soon:
Designed by Worldwide Hearing and Tinnitus, Ltd. (WHAT), this engineering firm looked back to the old phone booth for inspiration that used to dot city streets in decades past. WHAT’s prototype for a silence chamber is considerably different from an old phone booth, is round, about twenty feet in diameter and with tinted windows for privacy. Made with soundproof steel to successfully shut out all outside sounds, the intention is to have at least one silence chamber on every city block to avoid longer waits to enter one.
All that’s required to enter a chamber for one hour is the deposit of a dollar, of which WHAT gets 25 cents and the participating city gets 50 cents for their coffers. The latter 25 cents will also go to WHAT to fund their new coalition: Hearing Under Harassment (HUH) that promotes the idea of moving all loud noises into any available cornfield.
Once you’re successfully inside a silence chamber, you’ll find a comfortable leather chair where you can sit and relax for your hour reading a book or whatever you please. The absorption of sound minutia in the chamber will prevent the sound of leather rubbing against leather or even the genteel sound of a book’s page turning. Keep in mind, though, that security cameras will be inside to monitor, spot and stop any prurient activities in the chamber that normally registers as many decibels as a leaf blower.
In the chance the chamber door jams, the sound absorption technology will disable the ability for your voice to resonate. Hand signals into the security camera will be utilized to identify why you need to get out immediately so nearby security personnel can help you. A flushing gesture shall indicate you need to go to the bathroom. A point to an ear means you have enhanced tinnitus and need to seek a doctor. A point to the crotch means you might be a terrorist, but you couldn’t hear if the explosive went off in your pants.
Rock Concert Screens
Designed by an audio engineering firm called Tsound Tsunami, Inc., this device is based on a simple folding screen and the ability to absorb intense sound. The difference here is that it looks virtually invisible when unfolded and set upright. The screen is intended for rock concerts where a person who wants to protect their hearing can set it in front of their seat without blocking their view or anybody else around them. Sound force levels have been tested at Death Metal concert levels. It also reduces pulsating basses and sound wave decibels up to jet engine level, plus comes with an unobtrusive stage-side pouch that collects guitar picks, towels, gum and sweat.
In early Beta tests, the screen fell over onto a selected test group during a mock Justin Bieber concert. Instant Bieber hair was mass-created with the incident. Refinements are currently underway with a reported Target deal in late 2011.
Whispering MP3’s at iTunes
Apple has followed other company leads and decided to appease the public who’ve been told that iPods are the biggest instigator of hearing loss. Rather than promote peripheral companies that produce earbuds and earphones that protect your hearing, Apple decided to contract with an indie remix artist who invented a digital tool that remixes all Top 40 music in whispered tones. Remixed by renowned Eureka, CA based whisperist Billy “Softy” Jobs (no relation to Steve Jobs), hits by Eminem, Lady GaGa and Miley Cyrus are edited to sound as if the artists themselves gently whispered their hits right into your ear.
Apple ran aground with copyright issues when some artists balked at the alternate whispered versions after a fast-track to get these on iTunes. An undercover legal battle emerged over whether whispering really was a form of remix and, instead, constituting plagiarism. However, some of the artists who objected eventually decided to record the whispered versions themselves to help give partial resolve to the issue. No confirmed reports on a rumor that Eminem was sedated while doing his whispered takes off his “Recovery” album.
As a countermeasure to the off again/on again legal issues, Apple is also releasing a series of iTune MP3’s containing nothing but unadulterated silence by “No name/artist.” At time of this writing, silence has been confirmed to still be in the public domain.
Silent Movie Trailers with Miming Actors
With some public attacks on movie trailers for being too loud in recent years, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is working with prestigious film producers on creating silent trailers as a way to preserve hearing and create more interest. Tests by members of AMPAS showed that prolonged silence in a movie trailer captured more attention spans than with an over-the-top bombardment of sound. Debuting some time next year, expect some of the highest profile films to use silent trailers that depict action through actor expressions. Explosions will still be depicted with new acting instructions being given to Hollywood’s acting royalty on how to bug their eyes slightly outside of the eye socket.
Apple has reportedly received word on this new movie trailer trend and created a new iPhone app that plays a theater organ during these new trailers. It’s only 70 decibels.