Chicago Sun-Times

Earplugs on the Train

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After doing research for today's story on L noise, I got spooked about riding in the subway without ear protection. It's very noisy down there, and hearing is my favorite of the five senses. So I tried the advice of experts and wore foam ear plugs on my commute to work. It felt....

definitely weird. I felt like I had a bad head cold. But here was the unexpected result -- when I got to my stop and took the earplugs out, I felt calm. Peaceful. It proved the proposition that noise not only can cause hearing loss, but stress. I also didn't feel too cut off from the world -- I could hear announcements fine, so I don't think the plugs would be a problem in an emergency. Noise-canceling headphones would probably be more comfortable, though.

Anyone else try this?

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12 Comments

we dont need ear plugs so much as we need the conductors to enforce policy.
Why we have to listen to the cell phone users speak as if they were Edison, talking to his deaf wife.
HONEY, IM ON THE TRAIN, BLAH BLAH BLAH, NO KIDDING YOUVE BEEN RIDING IT FOR 30 YEARS, WHO CARES!
OH LOOK AT ME, I HAVE A CALL TO MAKE,..PERSONAL PHONE CALLS WENT BY WAY OF THE DINOSAUR.
Being rude is not an attribute.
Common courtesy is.

Good comments from "noise pollution is a crime." Same goes in restaurants with people shouting into cell phones. Yesterday at a restaurant it was amusing to hear a Chase Bank employee telling someone at the branch how to get security clearance into the bank computer system in agonizing detail. He was quite loud, apparently trying to impress everyone with his detailed knowledge, or, he is just stupid.

I use earplugs whenever I'm forced to mix with the masses. There is nothing more pathetic in this world than the "masses". There is a great cowardice in the security of the masses. Low-lifes love to hide and "socialize" within the mass. They try so hard to impress each other, but all for nothing more than a moment in the sun. The need to be special is the impetus behind almost every irritating habit people display. "I need to be a celebrity" is the driving force in the mind of every teen and twenty-something these days. Look, you will never be special or unique until you stop trying to conform to the "masses". Keep your noise to yourself, whether its that cheap, asian-made cell phone, mp3 player or just your obnoxious voice. Nature should be the only noise we hear. The day this mass-made, unnatural world is leveled will be the day we actually start living. But you don't want to hear that, so go back to your oblivion and selfishness. That's what you deserve anyway. I'll keep wearing earplugs so as not to hear your emptiness.

I wear earplugs or professional earcovers when my husband blasts the TV,
or I am vacuuming, using the blender, or touring the animal shelter ( the
barking is horrendous ). I replaced an old car I liked because it
didn't have air conditioning and I tho't I'd go deaf from the road noise,
esp. when big trucks were passing.
I do have some hearing loss from listening to books on tape for hours
while working for a boring insurance company, but intend to preserve what
I have left ! Please protect yours, as well.

I sometimes wear earplugs on the L and Metra. I also use them while walking around downtown. I find that the noise on the street is even more stressful than that you find on trains. You can't really tell just how bad it is until you take out the plugs!

Its a rude world kids...and riding on metra, what used to be a private call is now..hey look at me, I have a call!

Might be that folks with such low self esteem, need to feel important on the train.

Rudeness is in, now thats a suspiscious package!

Free investment advice: find a company that is developing hearing aids, and put all your money into it now. Thirty years from now, millions of Mp3 users will discover that they can't hear a darn thing anymore -- especially the current teenagers who have their iPods turned up to the max all day and night.

In the meantime, I have used earplugs not only on the el, but also on plane flights, and I agree that it's amazing how different you feel if you're not subjected to the noisy chaos.

There are plenty of loud, rude cell phone conversations on Metra. Later at night, there are plenty of drunks.

I've used earplugs for years on CTA and Metra. They are a sanity saver, as well as helping to preserve my hearing.

Music, XM, or MP3 is enjoyable and cancels most of the rude, ridiculous cell phone conversations, and cursing we have to deal with on the subway and elevated trains....Metra is much better.

I wear them on plane flights. I can't believe how much background noise there is when I take them out. Clearly, they cut down stress and tension. I sleep on the plane with plugs, eye shades and sunglasses over the shades. Don't ask it works. I sleep better.

I do this all the time on the CTA. Much cheaper than noise cancelling phones, and you will easily get accustomed to the plugs. Most of the time the announcements are so excessively loud that there's no problem hearing them even with earplugs.

I wore foam ear plugs on Metra for several years before switching to an mp3 player with plug-style earphones. The challenge on Metra isn't about canceling the noise of the train but about blocking out the mindless cell-phone chatter and the canned announcements urging riders to report "suspicious behavior," whatever that is.

Listening to music is much more calming than listening to announcements calculated to put riders on edge. I wouldn't consider riding without either ear plugs or my earphones.

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This page contains a single entry by Mary Wisniewski published on May 27, 2008 4:59 PM.

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