Society

Noise cancellation headphones

Decibel levels also routinely rise to ouch-inducing levels during disagreements.  

When there’s a toddler in your life, high noise levels are a given. You regularly make statements such as, “Hold on, I can’t hear you. My daughter’s singing,” when you’re on the phone, because your toddler will choose to sing “Head, shoulders, knees and toes” at the top of her voice about six inches away from your ear precisely when you’re trying to hold an adult conversation. And when toddlers choose to sing at the top of their voices, you don’t have a choice but to listen. Neither do your neighbours or anyone who lives in the entire apartment building. God equipped young children with loud, lusty voices (presumably so mummies will never be able to ignore their calls for attention) and, by God, they know how to use them.

Decibel levels also routinely rise to ouch-inducing levels during disagreements. If your toddler is displeased with the food you’re serving or the dress you’ve chosen for her or with your decision to turn off the TV after the zillionth repetition of Dora, you’re going to hear about it, loud and clear. Some of those ‘NOs’ will leave your eardrums ringing, and when the tantrum really escalates (especially in public), the sound of the screams and sobbing is enough to make everyone within a 100-foot radius stop and wonder what heinous crime you’re committing against the child. But things really get out of hand when toddlers get together to play, and the good times start rolling. Their piercing squeals of excitement have been known to hit such high frequencies that crystal shatters, and doggies with sensitive hearing duck for cover. And when they decide to have a who-can-squeal-loudest contest, it’s every eardrum for itself. Even their shouts of laughter can leave you reeling, particularly after they’ve run round and round in circles interminably, shouting louder and louder before collapsing on the floor giggling. By then, it’s time for you also to collapse — in a dark room, preferably, with a damp cloth over your throbbing forehead. Don’t get me wrong; these are happy sounds, among the happiest in the world, and when heard from a distance in an open area like a park, they’re wonderfully mood-uplifting. But when heard in a confined space, at a distance of about a foot or two from you…. Well, the joy tends to wane quickly.

Therefore, in the interest of parents of toddlers everywhere, I propose the creation of Toddler Noise Cancellation Headphones. Those of you reading this and scoffing, “Duh, noise cancellation headphones already exist,” let me tell you, those things are of absolutely no use in these situations. Those are for drowning out ambient noise — murmurs of conversation, the hum of traffic – while you’re listening to music. They are simply not equipped to block out a toddler singing ‘Wheels on the bus’ on loop, at full lung power, within the confines of a car, throughout a two-hour drive. It’s like saying a raincoat will keep you dry during a tsunami. No, toddler noise cancellation calls for heavy-duty sound-proofing, for the latest in acoustical engineering. The headphones don’t even need to play any music (though some relaxing spa-type nature sounds wouldn’t be amiss). No, all we’re really asking for is a few moments of blessed silence.

So the next time you’re trying to get some work done or read an email or two, or even (gasp) skim through the newspaper, and you just need to drown out the “Amma! Ammaaaa! AMMAAAA!” for a little bit, look no further than this wondrous invention (you’re welcome).

(Warning: Please note that overuse can lead to toddler neglect. But don’t worry too much. Toddlers come with an in-built defence mechanism. It’s called ‘yanking the headphones off mommy or daddy’s head’.)

And for those you’ve-got-be-kidding-me moments of irony, when your toddler complains that you’re speaking or playing music “too loudly,” simply shorten the band and plonk the headphones over her ears. Again, you’re welcome.


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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 9:23:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/toddler-talk-noise-cancellation-headphones/article6757332.ece

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