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Hey you with the iPod! Turn it down!

Jennifer “Jay” Poole

This is to the dude squeezing tomatoes rather creepily in Trader Joe's who was rocking out to The Killers.

And the woman in Borders who was listening to what I think was Simon and Garfunkel while flipping through a book on Vietnam.

And those six emo kids in front of the Starbucks near my house who sulk with their $5 frappucinos and glare at passersby.

You, with the white earbuds. Yes, you.


Because this time mommy was right. Sustained exposure to loud noises will eventually dull your hearing.

So now, when people talk to you they sound like the teacher in the Charlie Brown movies.

Shall we rise as one and sue Apple because the volume on the iPod can be jacked up to ear-bleeding levels?

No. This one's your fault.

So turn it down.

But some people can't handle personal responsibility, so yeah, they're suing Apple, claiming that because the device's volume goes up to 115 decibels, Apple must mean for them to listen to it that loudly. Which is like suing McDonalds because your coffee was too hot and the cup didn't have a warning. (Which happened. And the woman who sued got almost $3 million in damages.)

We're a litigious society.

So turn it down.

115 decibels is the volume of an air-raid siren. Being exposed to that type of volume for 28 seconds allegedly does some damage. I go to rock concerts, which are around and above 120 decibels, and stand in front of the speakers, but I don't do that every day.

So turn it down.

And isn't it nice to know that even Who guitarist Pete Townshend is concerned for your aural well-being? He wants to warn you iPod and mp3 device listeners of "terrible trouble ahead." (And I would like to counterwarn dear Pete that paying for access to a child pornography website is terribly troubling. Which he did in 1999.)

Look. Everyone cranks the volume now and then, whether to drown out a roommate's snoring or the leaf blower next door or simply because you dig a song. But when your voice sounds to you like you're talking into a tin can or other people sound to you like they're talking into a ski mask, its time to turn it down.

So turn it down.

Place your finger on the clickwheel, rotate counterclockwise.

Do it.

Now that you can hear me, I'll tell you what is worth suing Apple over. Shoddy iPod construction. I've had my iPod for a little over a year and I've had to send it in twice. My hold switch doesn't work anymore. Many iPod nano owners raged at Apple because the screens on the devices were easily scratched, and screen scratches weren't covered in the warranty.

There are also open lawsuits over battery life problems. I use the word "life" loosely here; many iPod mini users can only squeeze out an hour of music on a full charge, after having the device less than a year.

People are mad at Apple's iTunes music store because of the digital copy protection bought music comes with, which limits the number of times you can burn a song to CD.

People are mad at Apple in general for constantly coming out with another cooler iPod after they just bought what used to be the coolest iPod.

See, there are plenty of reasons to be upset with Apple. Just like there are plenty of reasons to be upset with anything.

But volume? Please, stop whining or embrace your tinnitus.

Turn it down.