The latest in things that your mom and probably Mayor Bloomberg have been telling you are bad for you for ages (though of course you’ve failed to adhere to their recommendations to stop doing them) is…walking with headphones. Yep, walking around with your own very special theme song piped into your ears to the exclusion of any other sounds is not only the only way we want to live, it also might lead to your demise. According to the journal Injury Prevention, which has a vested interest in such things, “the number of people killed or seriously injured as a result of not being aware of their surroundings due to ear buds or headphones has tripled in the past six years.” (Probably, the number of people traveling with personal musical devices plugged into their ears has also tripled, but no matter: Knowledge saves lives!)
While there were 16 such accidental injury cases recorded between 2004 and 2005, there were 47 between 2010 and 2011. In many of the cases, the injuries occurred when the people didn’t hear horns or sirens. Lest you think you’re a grown up and this doesn’t apply to you, “in the 116 cases analyzed, approximately two-thirds of struck pedestrians were younger than 30 but over the age of 18.”
At the same time, if you don’t wear headphones while you walk down the street, you might hear a lot of other things better left out of your ears. Plus, having your own personal theme song playing while you get hit by a car makes it that much more cinematic.
We suggest keeping your eyes open and your wits about you at all times, regardless of what you have in your ears. Of course, we also only cross the street to the harmonious medley of “O-o-h Child” we have a light and after we’ve covered our bodies in knee pads. The world is a dangerous place!