Sound Advice about Headphones

Music is good for the soul. It can motivate us to sing, dance, exercise or unwind. However, when enjoying music on the go (walking, jogging or biking), it can become a distraction & isolate the listener from their enviroment. Injuries & fatalities have resulted. Here is some sound advice to stay safe.

Two Canadian teens were killed less than a month ago when struck by a train. They were walking on the tracks & listening to music on their headphones just before this happened. Fatalities of this nature are easily preventable.

According to a new U.S study, the number of deaths involving pedestrians wearing headphones has risen dramatically in the past seven years. In 2004, 16 fatalities were reported. By 2011, 47 fatalities were reported.

When on the go/in transit, it is important to pay attention to what is going on around you (teach your children this as well). Focusing only on your music can get you into trouble quick. It is important to look & listen for traffic & other potential dangers.

When listening to music while exercising outdoors, don’t have the volume too loud. You should still be able to hear things around you, like warning sirens, horns & bells.There is a time & place for everything. When in the safety of your home, for example, turn up the volume to hear lyrics, notes & instruments. When exercising outdoors, you really only need to hear the beat of the music to establih a rhythm or to set the pace.

Music distractions have become a serious safety concern for Canadians. In Quebec, it's actually illegal to cycle with headphones on, with fines for infractions. I think that this law is a good idea for cyclists, who share the road with other vehicles. However, this law may be a bit extreme for cyclists on designated pathways or wildress trails.Wearing only 1 headphone/ear bud has become law for cyclists in some American states. I think this is the best idea.

I learned a long time ago that awareness of your surroundings is the 1st step to being safe/self defense (especially for women). I only wear 1 earbud while jogging or hiking. This way, I can hear if someone (or an animal) is coming up behind me. My music moves me but I stay safe at the same time.

Music can make an activity fun & is very motivating. Enjoy it, when active outdoors, just don’t let it distract you. Stay mindful & take notice of all the sights & sounds around you. Stay safe, everywhere, all the time!