The Miracle of Miniaturization

When I was in grade school, I remember other kids who were hard of hearing -- they had to wear hearing aids. Back then, hearing aids were often pretty big: the size of a transistor radio (yeah yeah: no one remembers those anymore either! I'll say "pack of cigarettes" -- and hope that it won't be long before people have trouble understanding what size that is!) Anyway, they were pretty big, often worn in a shirt pocket with wires going up to earphones.

Naturally, kids felt awfully self-conscious with those wires coming out of their ears, which made them look "different". These days, thanks to the miracle of electronics and miniaturization, hearing aids are now so small that you often don't even notice when people are wearing them, and the hard-of-hearing don't have to feel self-conscious because of their hearing aids.

Well here we are in the 21st century. And these days, thanks to the miracle of electronics and miniaturization, most electronic devices are pretty tiny. Rather than needing a large stereo system with stacks of CDs (or, the horror!, vinyl records), you can now pack hundreds of hours of high fidelity music on a device the size of a pack of gum, often worn in a shirt pocket with wires going up to earphones.

Naturally, the kids who can't afford them feel awfully self-conscious since they clearly don't have them.

But the people who can afford them often have them turned up way too loud, pumping high-volume music directly into their ears for hours and hours every day -- resulting in a new generation of hard-of-hearing kids....

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(Original item by Randy Cassingham, 7 May 2007)

Posted May 11, 2007

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