by Noah Schmidt, PAW Writer

In the 1998 film, “The Waterboy”, starring Adam Sandler, the protagonist’s Momma, played by Kathy Bates, says that practically everything on the face of the earth, the Bible excluded, is the devil. I’m sure if asked for her opinion on listening to loud music, Momma would promptly exclaim, “Loud music is the devil!” And she’d probably be right, at least partially.

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In an interview that appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Brian Fligor, a Boston audiologist, stated that, “It is normal to lose some hearing as we age, but overexposure to music and noise can make that happen much faster.” How loud is too loud? Dr. Fligor recommends that, “people keep the volume on a device no higher than 80% of maximum… for 90 minutes of listening.”

The majority of Providence students seem to understand the risks of listening to loud music. Erinn McIntyre, a PA senior, said, “I listen to it not too loud, not too quiet, juuust right.” Although this response is Goldilocks-esque, this is certainly a healthy habit. Paul Stankey, a sophomore, stated, “It all depends for me. When I’m working out its really loud, but when I’m practicing (golf) I’ll have it on softly.” This way of listening shouldn’t cause serious damage. Dr. Fligor himself said that, “You can listen really loud for short periods of time safely.” Another senior at Providence, Connor Killion, member of the band “Bored of Education,” has experienced firsthand the pains of listening to music too loud. “I listen to music at different volumes depending on the time of day, but I don’t ever go overboard with a volume because it leads to a constant ringing in your ears. At concerts, especially punk concerts, they play super loud and I’ve been stuck right in front of the speaker stacks. I actually lost a bunch of hearing for a few hours thanks to a stupid metal band at the garage.” Students seem to be generally aware of the dangers of listening to loud music and thus listen cautiously.

Although listening to loud music in headphones certainly may be “the devil,” listening quietly is definitely not. Music is a beautiful form of art that can truly enhance one’s life. As Plato wrote, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” Bring some charm into your life in the form of music, just keep the volume down while you do it.

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