Silence may be golden but there’s less of it to go around than there used to be! It’s all because of noise pollution which includes things like jackhammers, motorcycles, loud car stereos, and annoying ring tones. Well, now you can add to that list “iPod bleed-through.” In other words, the person next to you on the bus, plane, or even in the next cubicle has their music turned up so loud, you can’t help but hear the racket emanating from their earbuds. Sure, even at its highest volume, an iPod isn’t nearly as invasive as a loud cell phone conversation, but it has its moments. Like when you’re in an elevator at 8:52 a.m. and a co-worker has their rock music cranked to the max.  

Then there’s the conversation “shout-out.” That’s when your earbud-wearing child or co-worker has no concept of how loud their music is compared to the surrounding environment. Since they don’t bother to take their earbuds out before they start talking, they shout without realizing it.  Finally, there’s the problem of impromptu karaoke. The fellow commuter who’s singing at the top of their lungs – invariably off key - to their own personal soundtrack.    

So, how can you stop iPod noise pollution? First, give the offender the benefit of the doubt. They might not be aware how loud their music player is. They could even be hard of hearing because of all their loud music. Normal conversation is about 60 decibels but most mp3 players are cranked to about 120 decibels, about the level of a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Experts say listening to something that loud can cause hearing damage after just 30 seconds! So, never crank your iPod volume above the halfway point.

Also, if the noise is bothersome, it’s okay to speak up and ask them to turn it down just a tad. According to The Emily Post Institute, if they refuse to cooperate, you have three choices: 1) You can just grin and bear it. 2) Get an iPod of your own and block them out. Or 3) start singing along to their music. Experts say that should get the volume turned down pronto. Why? Because a little social embarrassment can go a long way toward getting cooperation.