Walking with your head in the clouds can be dangerous – but not as risky as listening to your iPod. The numbers of people suffering serious injury or death while wearing headphones for MP3 players has tripled in six years, according to a US study. An increase in the use of headphones while walking in the street has led to a dramatic rise in the number of injuries, with men and young adults the most at risk from hurting themselves.
In the study, experts looked at data from 2004 to 2011. They found that 116 people in the US wearing headphones had died or been seriously hurt during that period. The number of people who died or were injured jumped from 16 in 2004-2005 to 47 in 2010-2011. Most victims were men (68%) and under the age of 30 (67%), with about one in 10 of all cases under the age of 18.
According to the study, published in the online journal Injury Prevention, 70% of the incidents resulted in death. The study found that wearing headphones may have played a direct part in many of the accidents, because the users could not hear warnings that they were in danger. The experts concluded: “The use of headphones may result in a safety risk to pedestrians, especially in environments with moving vehicles.”
Other studies have found that people wearing headphones – or who are talking on a mobile phone – can suffer from ‘inattentional blindness’ or ‘iPod oblivion’. This is a reduction in attention to the outside world and it can lead to people paying less attention to traffic when they cross the street.
Kevin Clinton, the head of road safety at the UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, advised pedestrians with headphones to: “Ensure you are not dangerously distracted and that you remain aware of what is happening around you.”
I.- Answer questions 1-4 according to the information given in the text. WRITE COMPLETE SENTENCES USING YOUR OWN WORDS WHENEVER POSSIBLE. DO NOT COPY FROM THE TEXT (4 marks)
1. Why do people who wear headphones get injured?
2. Which population groups are the most at risk?
3. What does inattentional blindness mean?
4. How can accidents caused by wearing headphones be prevented?
II.- Are these statements True or False? Justify your answers based on information from the text, rewriting the original sentences in your own words or quoting properly (2 marks)
1. The number of injuries because of wearing headphones has increased in the period considered in the study.
2. The main safety problem with headphones is that users cannot hear warnings.
III.- Find the words or expressions in the text that mean (1 mark)
- 1. damage, harm: injury (p.1, l. 2)
- 2. things said or written to tell people of possible danger: warnings (p.3, l. 4)
- 3. people who are walking in a town/city: pedestrians (p.3, l. 5)
- 4. confused/ not properly concentrated: distracted (p. 5, l. 3)
IV.- Write a composition of about 130 words on one of these topics. Specify your option (3 marks)
1. Have you, or anyone you know, ever had a minor accident when wearing headphones? Write about the incident and your feelings afterwards.
2. People do not seem to talk to one another any more on the bus or the train because they are all wearing headphones. Does this fact make you reflect on the type of society we live in? Express your opinion on this topic.