Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Hot Jobs in 25 Years

The December issue of Wired has an article, "Hot Jobs in 25 Years," in which experts give their opinions of future growth areas. Dick Bolles, author of the famous and periodically reissued and updated, "What color is your parachute" laughs at the question. He says a film produced in 1975 that predicted hot fields caused howls of laughter when shown in 1985.

Here's my prediction. Audiology and ear drum replacement surgery or implants. Deafness is definitely in our future. But it is hard to convince a 35 or 40 year old, who is already in the early stages of hearing impairment and will probably have to take the headset or wireless earphones out of his ears and ask you to repeat your warning.

I walked to the door of Fellowship Hall at church Sunday for the "Book Fair," bringing the books to the people with the help of our volunteer library staff and local Christian retailers. But I was beaten back at the door, hammered, clobbered, kicked in the head by a live Christian rock band warming up for the 11:15 X-Alt service (jeans and t-shirts demographic). "Informal" or "contemporary" (slacks and layered sweaters demographic) is for the aging baby boomers, and "traditional" or "heritage" (dresses and suits and ties demographic) is primarily for those of us over 60 and a few transfers from liturgical churches hoping for something familiar.

No matter how it is packaged, these musical offerings in enclosed spaces with hard edges and no noise control, is an assault on my ears. And in my case, my heart. I have arrythmia, so I have to immediately leave the premises, and go to a room or hall where only the floor and walls tremble and vibrate, not my heart valves and ear drums. I had to leave our church's spring concert this year to wait in the hall for my husband and our 84 year old guest because the volume was so overwhelming where I was sitting (different building), I was actually in pain. About 10 minutes later, my elderly neighbor joined me in the hall. She couldn't take it either. It's scary when people in their 60s, 70s and 80s have better hearing than 20 year olds. But it does open up numerous career possibilities when all the bass players and drummers are learning sign language.

(Read about new research on the molecular key to hearing: Sound first enters the external ear, traveling through the ear canal until it reaches the ear drum, causing it to vibrate. This then causes the three bones of the middle ear (one of them attached to the ear drum), called auditory ossicles, to vibrate as well. The auditory ossicles carry the vibrations into the inner ear and cause the fluid of the inner ear to vibrate. The fluid in the inner ear then causes a ribbon of cells called hair cells to vibrate up and down. That up and down motion causes tiny hair cells called cilia to move back and forth.

The back-and-forth motion cause the newly discovered protein, which forms pores located at the tips of the cilia, to form pores or channels that open and close in response to sound waves. When the pores open, ions flow into the cells and transform the vibrations into electrical signals.)

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