Rock bands, hearing protections, and teenage boys

One of the things I enjoy most about the creative concept behind Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and similar video games is the music that kids are exposed to. My teenage sons have become immersed in the music of bands from the 1970s and 1980s. In other words, good music. The playlists on their MP3s mimic my own. Music provides us a touchstone to connect upon at a time when so much else in their lives seems foreign to me.

Another benefit to the resurgence in this music’s popularity is the possibility of attending concerts by these classic rock bands. Ironically enough, my sons get excited about going to see the same bands that I enjoyed when I was their age. I love to point out to them that the first rock concert I attended was one by Aerosmith. (This does not actually make me look cool in their eyes, but I try).

One of the things I enjoy most about the creative concept behind Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and similar video games is the music that kids are exposed to. My teenage sons have become immersed in the music of bands from the 1970s and 1980s. In other words, good music. The playlists on their MP3s mimic my own. Music provides us a touchstone to connect upon at a time when so much else in their lives seems foreign to me.

Another benefit to the resurgence in this music’s popularity is the possibility of attending concerts by these classic rock bands. Ironically enough, my sons get excited about going to see the same bands that I enjoyed when I was their age. I love to point out to them that the first rock concert I attended was one by Aerosmith. (This does not actually make me look cool in their eyes, but I try). What I don’t usually tell my teens is that I spent that first concert fairly miserable. I felt bombarded by noise, and of course I hadn’t brought hearing protections of any sort. Instead, I leaned forward with my elbows on the rail, trying to look enthralled so that I could be more subtle about sticking my fingers in my ears.

These days I’m older and wiser. I still enjoy the same music, and still thrill to the pulsing excitement of attending live shows by many of my favorite bands. However, I wear ear defenders when I attend, a wonderful pair that allows me to carry on conversations and enjoy the music without damaging my hearing when it gets blaringly loud. My sons find themselves frequently attending concerts with Mom or Dad in tow: vaguely embarrassing, but worth it when the folks are footing the bill. Plus, we often discover a large number of attendees who look to be in the same situation. (A recent Pearl Jam concert I went to with my 15-year-old practically looked like a mother-son soiree.) When my sons are with me, I can insist that they wear ear defenders themselves. When they go to a concert without me, all I can do is remind them on their way out the door. They tend to grumble about it, then sheepishly admit they were glad to have them once they get home. Hopefully they’ll make it through to adulthood with their hearing intact.

Just because they can hear doesn’t mean they’ll actually listen to me, but at least our mutual love of rock music gives us a starting point for conversation.




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