NROP: Turn it down!

“What’s your favorite…?” are my least favorite questions because I rarely have a singular thing that I like to eat, listen to, etc. Why limit yourself? I like to keep my options varied. However, if the question allows me to pass ‘sleep’ as an answer, I allow it.

With that said…

One night several years ago, I was in bed doing what I do best – sleeping when I heard VERY loud beeping. Startled, I opened my eyes and raised my head to inspect my surroundings. The sound seemed to have come from the direction of my phone, but I was perplexed because I have never heard it ring that loud. Turns out, it was an emergency alert letting me know that there was a potential threat of flooding in my area. At that time, I lived on the second floor, about two miles away from the lake. If I was to be in any sort of flooding danger, it would mean that the whole world was… fcked in trouble. If I remember correctly, it was not even raining at that point. (And no – I did not live in an area prone to hurricanes, etc.)

The first thing I did after dismissing the alert was to disable them entirely. My phone warned me that I would not be informed of any emergencies going forward, which might put my life at risk. I decided to take that risk because not only did the alert interrupt my sleep and freak me out, I believe that – if my heart was weaker – it would have been the cause of my death. That thing is LOUD and when you hear it in the dead of night…

Whether suffering from undiagnosed misophonia made this experience worse for me than for an average Joe, I am not sure.

A couple of weeks ago, while working, my phone emitted that loud beeping again. While it was still loud, my reaction to it was better as I was awake and dealing with conference calls, videos, and other audio input. This time, it was an amber alert. It breaks my heart to hear that a kid has been kidnapped. It breaks my heart, even more, knowing how often it happens. At first, I was confused as to why I got the alert in the first place and then I realized that it was a somewhat new phone. Off to disabling the alerts, I went.

On one hand, I felt guilty – what if, while I’m driving to the gym after work, I see the car described in the alert but do not get to save the kid inside because I did not get the alert. But on the other hand – I will not be able to save that kid if I were not alive myself.

As a kid, I liked to listen to loud music mainly because it seemed to be the only way to really enjoy it – that is what everyone did. While I like the music of my choice, I do not always like other people’s choices. I have encountered so many people listening to music on their headphones so loud that they might as well listen to it on speakerphone instead. Witnessing that made me mindful of others when I listen to music, and so I adjust the volume based on my surroundings.

There was a time in my life when I commuted a lot using public transportation and so I listened to music A LOT through earphones. These days, I do it very rarely as I can just listen to music the ‘regular’ way in my car or at home. Even at work.

What do emergency alerts and earphones have to do with one another?

There is a lawsuit against Apple because a kid suffered hearing damage due to an emergency alert noise while watching Netflix on his Airpods. When I read that, I shuddered thinking about those two alerts I have heard throughout my life. How loud must have it been through earphones?!

The parents that started the lawsuits reported an injury to their son’s eardrum and said he would need a hearing aid going forward. They are asking for $75,000 from Apple.

Surprisingly enough, I think that this is a low ask. People usually ask for millions for nothing. Having a hearing impairment for the rest of your life and who knows what other side effects pertaining to your inner ear pieces being damaged.

The lawsuit says that Apple’s product was either defective (allowed too loud a noise) or that it did not provide sufficient warning about the noise levels. Warning labels make me roll my eyes. They are either so ridiculous or just something we choose to ignore in order to use the product (yes, we can choke on our food, but does that mean we will starve?). So, I believe that placing a warning label on earphones will achieve nothing (other than protection from lawsuits for manufacturers) – people will still lose their hearing. Decreasing the possible volume on the (ear)phones? That is an interesting idea. However, what is loud to me might not be loud to you.

At the gym I go to, there are some instructors that insist on blasting the music louder than at a concert and then they proceed to yell their instructions on top of that. I have no idea how those that attend those classes stand it. You do not have to be in class to hear it! If the door to the classroom is open, you can hear the music and yelled instructions halfway across the gym. That is with the overhead music playing at the gym, people talking, and machines slamming. People look at me weirdly when I walk up and close the door. I feel like I am condemning the people inside to ear slaughter, but I am also saving the others that are outside, trying to do their own thing.

It is a good thing that someone will be looking at the volume levels of the emergency alerts, but I feel like that should be addressed differently. I think that problem should be brought to the governing agencies (whoever is responsible for such alerts) and phone manufacturers. There has to be a way to adjust the volume of those alerts for those of us that do not want to suffer from a heart attack yet would like to receive those alerts.

Stay golden,

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40 thoughts on “NROP: Turn it down!

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  1. Noise issues are definitely huge concerns, and it feels like there should be more sensitivity in addressing them. There must be a better way, after all, of notifying people of emergency alerts–even perhaps sending out a text message with its usual short beeps or such. As for gyms or other locations where the music is really loud, it might be up to something approaching the management about it–who will hopefully be open and willing to at least turn it down.

    Your post actually reminds me of something that happened two nights ago. I was kept awake until close to midnight by some people who were basically having a party near a lake at some distance from my home. Their music was so loud that it seemed to rock the windows. But, since it was so late and out in the countryside, all I could really do was wait it out. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen too often, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand that emergency alerts should … alert people, but there are too many alerts that are not emergencies to many people, which defeats the whole point. Getting them like a normal text should work, especially since most people seem glued to their phone screens/smartwatches so they will see it promptly.

      I remember approaching the instructor a while back and she completely dismissed me. It doesn’t help that people who attend these classes seem to like it that loud because it ‘pumps them up.’ Thankfully not all of the classes/instructors are like that (not that I really attend those anyway). Management seemed more understanding but ultimately if there are people who are OK with that… there’s only so much they can do.

      Ugh loud music when I’m trying to sleep. (I chuckled as I pictured myself as a very old person trying to deny kids their fun – a person I as a kid hated. I swear I’m OK with things within reason!) I had neighbors upstairs a couple of years ago that insisted on playing loud music ONLY at night. Thankfully, they are gone. Management told us they couldn’t do anything and recommended calling the police, which we did. That caused some friction… lol.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, goodness. Sorry to hear that incident with the noisy upstairs neighbors caused friction, but I’m glad to hear they moved away–hopefully to some location where they could enjoy their music without disturbing anyone. It’s also terrible to hear that the management wouldn’t help, especially considering the fact that they are supposed to, well, help manage things.

        It really is a complicated issue. At least there are those who are sensitive to the needs of others on that front. Oh dear.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great post: too many people, myself included, ignore the noise pollution that is so hard on our systems.

    $75,000 is a low ask! Why Apple didn’t program the air pods to drop the volume on an alert is a mystery. It’s possible: you can program your volume settings for consistency.

    I like my music loud, but only when it’s in a biggish space (living room, car with windows open). Too much noise in a small environment/headphones causes me distress. At least I’m saved from earbud hell by my inability to wear them/hatred of them. I also regularly enjoy silence (or as much silence as the local birds and heavy rain allows 😉) in my environment. I think it helps me maintain a degree of calm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do, too, but compared to others, I think I’m doing good. Can’t save those that don’t want to get saved, right?

      Hmmm… maybe that’s what the parents were trying to argue. I know some devices adjust volume if you plug in headphones while others don’t. Ultimately, it’s up to the user.

      Right? ‘Distress’ is a good word – It’s weird how it happens.

      My ears are weird and the earphones fall out on me, but if you wrap the cable around the ear from the back, it works. No, I do not do wireless. BUT! I know there are moldable earphones. Have you tried those?

      Silence is what keeps me sane – I firmly believe that. (While same can be said about music, there has to be a balance, of course.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t know they made moldable ear buds. Things to investigate.

        Silence is golden (sorry, couldn’t resist). I adore music but I also like the quiet. It helps the brain rest, I think.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I am currently maybe the only person at the gym not listening to earphones or music on my phone connected to my ear. I might hear the dim sound of 80s and 90s tunes overhead and that’s all I need as I plug along on the workout. With group workouts I do like loud music, but not insanely loud….
    Warning labels are just there for legal reasons, right?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Same. I find it funny how different people have different ways of getting in ‘the zone.’

      Lol, yea – I don’t ever remember reading a warning and going: “Oh, um, good to know. I was just about to do that but now I won’t.” You?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A suggestion for revenge (convoluted) on folk who play music too loud.
    1. Check where they live, even it does mean following in a car at a discreet distance (like on lake going party goers)
    2. Also discreetly scope out their bedroom.
    3. At 6am one morning leave as close to said bedroom a cheap cd player playing at it’s tinny full blast ‘The Best of Enya’ or ‘Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony’ or someone who gives Country & Western a bad name.
    4. At the same time hammer on the door and tell them ‘turn that damn music’ down.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Goldie, it…. Sounds (haha) like we have very similar experiences and feelings towards sounds and music! Personally, I prefer the sounds of nature to all others. Sometimes the ocean waves crash So Loud here but I don’t complain because they also whisper at times. Then there’s the sandhill cranes, especially during migration! And the chickadees at 3am… oh boy! Yes, I’ll take nature over manmade sounds any day!!

    I keep all notifications muted, all tracking off, even my ringer remains off! I remember the days before cellphones (admittedly only having one for about seven years now). We weren’t always connected all the time! That’s the way I like it. Quiet and peaceful. Thanks for your posts, they always make my day a little brighter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahahah!

      Oh, yes, nature definitely can produce some annoying sounds, too. I just have some ducks outside my window angrily huffing at one another. But at least when I tell them to knock it off, they don’t tell me to mind my own business… They just politely move farther away from where I can’t hear it as much. Hahahah

      Due to personal circumstances and past experiences, I keep my ringer on during the day (and a ‘if you call/txt a few times back to back = emergency and it rings’ enabled feature at night). But, once I start getting spammed (people who send a million messages instead of one), I switch it off, too.

      Life was much different back when I didn’t have a cell phone…

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts! as that’s what makes my blogging experience so special!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Finally, I’ve had a chance to catch up with you and some of my other readers’ and followers’ posts. I was in hospital a short while ago and was then at home, healing and taking it easy for another week before returning to my blog. I’m sorry if I’ve missed any of your other posts during that time.

    When I was younger, I used to go to concerts where the music was blaring out of the speakers that we used to go and stand right next to! Foolish, I now think. My dear Mum used to warn us we’d go deaf doing that but being typical teenagers, we took no notice. So far, so good – no sign of hearing loss yet. Touch wood (*tapping head*). I can also appreciate how you feel about the music and shouting out by the fitness instructors at the gym, as I used to find the same when I was physically able to go there.

    Funnily enough, my phone beeps and pings don’t bother me too much, but then I’m not subjected to extra loud alerts, and alarms like you’ve had, thankfully. Keep well, Sam X 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When we’re young (especially when we’re teenagers), we don’t think about decades into the future, which is why we so often ignore adult advice. Hopefully your hearing remains stellar for the rest of times.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow the idea someone got hearing damage because of alerts is awful. I cant really sleep anymore unless I have headphones in listening to a movie (the same movie, over and over every night). I would hate to have them in, be sleeping and get an ear piercing alert come through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You must know every line in that movie. I hope it’s not a violent one as I worry it might subconsciously influence you.

      I know, right?! Terrifying. Discmans were wonky (if you turned them at an angle, sometimes it skipped or stopped, but I really enjoyed falling asleep while listening to a walkman with classical music. No notifications in sight!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, it’s Clue (Comedy Murder Mystery) and sometimes Murder by Death (another comedy). It’s silly and yes, I think I do know the lines off by heart.

        I listen to about 5-10mins a night and fall straight asleep.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehehhe. It’s like deaf humans who speak so loudly. Funny how some things are the same in us and other animals.

      Hearing is a blessing and sometimes can be seen as a curse. While there definitely are other stimuli than auditory, one less would make life calmer (for a cat that does not have to go outside/deal with the real world).

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Agree, Goldie. There is – or should be – a limit to the volume in headphones. If someone likes it louder, (s)he can adjust accordingly. Nowadays there are so many things that beep and ring and clap and bang and play impromptu music, sometimes it’s a challenge figure out where it’s coming from. My least favorite is the smoke detector that has a low battery. We have several detectors in our house, and with the loud noise every 30-60 seconds, it can take a while to find the one that’s complaining. But there will be no sleeping until that’s accomplished. :/
    (I agree, $75,000 isn’t nearly enough for hearing loss in a child.)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think, if your phone is on “silent”, the loud noises are canceled and you’ll only have to deal with the pop-up on the phone. It’s nice that there’s a way for us to receive these alerts though. If I was a concerned party, it would help me live through horrifying times a bit better… I think. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Another comment of yours found in Spam…
      My experience is that even if your phone is on silent, the alarm blares through. Maybe things are different in Canada?
      I’m sure these alerts help. Not sure of the statistics, but whenever they save a life, it’s great!

      Like

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Ellie Thompson

Musings and Memoirs - True Tales of My Life ...

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