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Noise-blocking headphones can lead to tragedy

February 9, 2012
Salem News

A high school student hit and killed by a train last month in Hurricane, W.Va., may not have been aware he was in danger.

Student Jacob Ball was listening to music through headphones as he walked along railroad tracks near Hurricane High School. Police say the 16-year-old's headphones may have prevented him from hearing the train.

Use of headphones that block out all outside noise is becoming a deadly problem, researchers say. A study released this year by the University of Maryland indicates serious accidents involving people using such headphones have increased by more than 300 percent during the past six years.

Maryland researchers learned more than two-thirds of such accidents involved males under 30 years of age. That should come as no surprise; high-tech headphones are seen far more frequently on young people than on older adults.

We doubt there can be a technological solution to this one, simply because of the whole idea behind noise-blocking headphones. Clearly then, the Maryland study should serve as a wake-up call to those who use such equipment. No music is good enough to risk losing your life.


Here's an opportunity for a philanthropist to do something worthwhile, or for a company to earn public relations benefits:

After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Americans were both determined to prevail in World War II and, at the same time, concerned. A much-needed morale boost was provided when, on April 18, 1942, 80 U.S. fliers led by Lt. Col. "Jimmy" Doolittle bombed the Japanese homeland.

Just five of the Doolittle raiders remain alive. On April 17-20, they will hold a reunion in Dayton, Ohio.

Events honoring the men are planned at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Officials there are hoping to find funding to fly in a few old B-25 bombers, like the raiders used, for the event.

If you can help, please do so. It's little enough to do for the last five Doolittle raiders.



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