It's a sad state of affairs when the tens of millions of people with hearing impairments around the world can't enjoy the latest YouTube meme. It's this fact that led YouTube to roll out auto-captioning to all of its users' videos. Announced today, YouTube will be harnessing the power of Google Voice Search's algorithms, allowing users to easily download the auto-captioned texts to videos, and even correct the auto-generated text.
Eventually, you'll be able to caption videos in different languages, but for now, auto-captioning is available for English-speakers and can be translated into 50 different languages. Additionally, you can have past videos captioned with a click of the "request processing" button on your videos' page. Check out the demo video on Google's YouTube page.
A new Italian study put a twist on the age-old advice about wanting something done right. In three separate tests, researchers found that when making a request, they had better results when the question was posed to the right ear.In general, the left side of the brain processes requests better and researchers feel it must also process information that comes from the right ear. It seems the left side of the brain is more amenable to granting favors. As a health aficionado, I do find it ironic that the tests involved asking clubbers for cigarettes in dance halls with considerable background noise. The researchers offer a rather more mundane observation to support their findings: most people listen with their right ear when speaking on the telephone. Could it be the majority of folks are right handed? Bottom line: when you want something, make sure to pose your query in the person's right ear, and don't forget to say please.
Who doesn't crank up the tunes occasionally for a rocking cardio session or to block annoying conversations on a morning commute? Unfortunately, dialing up the volume of your iPod can adversely affect your hearing.
We all know that prolonged listening to loud music can lead to hearing loss. Hearing experts say the maximum safe level for listening with ear buds or headphones is 85 decibels, but most people push the volume past competing ambient noise, which for NYC and DC is 80 decibels. This five-decibel window doesn't allow for much play when it comes to hearing your tunes. The European Union recommends a 100-decibel limit to MP3 players sold within its jurisdiction, with the purpose of decreasing associated hearing loss. But the US has no volume cap for music players, and recent tests found that many MP3 players crank all the way to 115 and 125 decibels. Hearing specialists recommend not only decreasing the volume but also the amount of time we all listen to our mighty iPods. Listening to one at maximum volume for only five minutes can begin deteriorating the delicate hair cells that line the inner ear, which decode sound waves into signals the brain interprets as sound.
I just set the volume lock on my iPod to about 80 percent of maximum volume, and I urge you to do the same with your MP3 player, whatever the brand. Easy listening might just mean hearing forever.
My poor dad sometimes tells me to repeat something, and then with a knowing look says "rock concerts," as if to explain how he's lost a little bit of his hearing over the years. I wonder if one day I'll be saying "earbuds" as an explanation to my kids when I don't catch what they say right away.
That's what a CNET writer fears, due to the widespread use of in-ear headphones (and the fact that he can hear the music of other people outside their headphones), and I do too, especially with the option and temptation to turn it up, up, up. Add that to the possibility that using a cell phone can cause hearing loss, and you've got me hoping that in 20 years, we'll have geek-chic hearing aids.
Am I the only worrywart out there, or do you worry about your hearing, too?
Health problems and hearing loss from cellphone and iPod use have been heavily debated ever since portable devices became a part of our everyday lives. The thing is, studies showing a correlation between use and hearing loss go back and forth. Sometimes they tell us cell phones cause hearing loss, other times they tell us use right before bed is bad, but otherwise we are OK and occasionally they tell us not to worry.
Scientists have noted that cellphone users who were on the phone for 60 or more minutes per day over a yearlong period showed early signs of hearing loss. According to this month's Shape magazine experts believe the problem comes from cellular receivers, which are louder than regular phone handsets. Do you worry about and pay attention to your cell phone's volume?