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The New Sound Barrier: Headphones and Earbuds

Selective hearing has played a vital role in survival-related tasks, such as hunting. But with constantly evolving high-tech equipment like headphones and earbuds, we’re getting more and more selective in what we hear — to the point of screening out what may be the most important sounds.

That raises real safety issues for young people. Many kids don’t realize how dangerous it is to overload their ears with MP3 files while walking along streets, across railroad tracks, or other high-traffic areas. There’s also the very real risk of missing alerts like smoke alarms and evacuation signals. Fortunately, a great educator resource on the topic is available. Packed with cool opportunities for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning, this lesson plan empowers students to crank up their understanding of audio safety—to amazingly high levels.

Helpful guidance focuses on general safety science concepts and on research tasks that any technophile will love to do. Students are divided into teams that study various sonic influences and how distracting, concealing, or even deceiving they can be.

View and/or print our Sound Barrier Activity Plan. Go to view and/or print your lesson plan now. The beauty of it is, it doesn’t wall students off from the wide world of sound. Instead, it opens up the sonic landscape more than they’ve ever experienced, all in the name of safety. That’s a learning barrier we should all be trying to break!