From the March 3rd, 2017 issue of The Load In:
Over the last few decades, airbags in cars have gone from a new innovation, to legally mandatory, to what is now the equivalent of one of those giant sumo suits popping up around you any time you get rear ended. There are front airbags, side airbags, and drop down curtain airbags. So what’s next?
When you get in a car accident, the noise of the impact could damage your hearing. That’s why Mercedes Benz has introduced PRE-SAFE, which are basically airbags for your ears.
Here’s how it works: If your car detects that you’re about to get in an accident, a split second before impact, it blasts a short burst of pink noise through the speakers. This causes the stapedius muscle in your ear to contract, thus protecting your ears from the acoustic assault that is the crunching of the front half of your car.
It may sound ridiculous, but that’s only because it kind of is. These “earbags” (a name I just came up with and am shocked they didn’t think of themselves) may help prevent hearing damage, but if I’m in an accident that is loud enough to cause hearing damage, it’s for sure intense enough to cause physical damage.
Still, I get it. As musicians especially, our ears are important, and taking good care of your ears is crucial to a long-term career in music. That’s why I’ve taken it a step further. When I’m in the car I now listen exclusively to my pink noise app. Cuz ears like mine paired with the way I drive means I have to STAY READY.