Earbud story ignored hearing

I enjoy gear round-up articles and I think your piece devoted to earbuds (“Better ear gear,” Winter/Spring 2014) was well done.

However, I think you let your readership down by failing to include an admonition that frequent, prolonged use of earbuds, especially at high volumes, can be a contributing factor to significant hearing loss over time.

Out of ignorance, in my youth I did severe, irreparable damage to my hearing that did not manifest until my middle years. Loud concerts, gunfire and heavy equipment, all endured without hearing protection, leave me dependent on hearing aids today. It is almost as common to see young people with earbuds or headphones in place as it is to see someone glued to their “smart” phones. I fear we will see a generation of severely hearing-impaired thanks to the careless use of audio devices. Given the length of time hearing loss may take to develop, we may see multiple generations negatively impacted. When the damage is done, it is done. No do-overs.

— Barry Tabel, Bend