The tinny rattle of someone's music playing way too loudly through their headphones is surely one of the most annoying sounds you can encounter.
Some comfort for the schadenfreude-lovers amongst us in news today, then, that a report has found they're likely permanently damaging their hearing.
The Washington Post reports that a quarter of adults in the U.S. have hearing loss because of noise including headphone use, concerts and even outdoor sounds like sirens.
The CDC report sited by the Post analysed data from the 2011–2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which collected information from Americans aged between 20 and 69. They found that "24 percent of adults had "audiometric notches" — a deterioration in the softest sound a person can hear — in one or both ears".
It also found that 53 percent of those surveyed did not have regular exposure to loud noise at work and so their hearing impairment was caused by environmental factors like listening to music too loudly. These results show that instead of the gradual deterioration of hearing in old age that we expect, we are grinding our ears down decades before their time is up.
The CDC report highlighted the damage exposure to noise can do, even if only short-term: "One minute of hearing a 120-decibel siren can damage hearing. So can two hours of exposure to a 90-decibel leaf blower, 14 minutes at a 100-decibel sporting event or two minutes at a 110-decibel rock concert."
So to recap: no leaf-blowers, no rock concerts and definitely no System of a Down on your commute home tonight.