When New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently kicked off an educational campaign to get people, especially the young, to lower the volume when using in-ear headphones (earbuds), it caused a lot of “nanny-state” controversy. Over and above the storm, however, is the fact that there has been a growing number of young teenagers experiencing noise-induced hearing loss, a jump of approximately 30% over the past couple of decades. Today, roughly 5 million children between 6 and 19 years of age report some degree of noise-induced hearing loss. These are not surprising numbers to doctors that treat the problem, or people who work around children and can see the amount of time that they wear earbuds and know the volume of the music.
It’s a problem that has long plagued professional musicians. Studies have shown that members of bands and orchestras have a far greater chance of experience hearing loss than non-musicians of the same age. It’s easy for modern bands, with a wealth of powerful electronics at hand, to crank up the volume in an attempt to engage the listener. However, it turns out that there is far more to it than just grabbing the audience. Turning up the volume was the only way that bass players and drummers were able to adequately hear the low-frequency sounds that they were producing.
The Guitammer Company was, in fact, largely built as a superior answer to that exact problem. Founder Ken McCaw, an accomplished musician, composer, and producer, originally started the company in order to commercialize a patented guitar accessory called the Hammer Jammer, and was soon focusing on low-frequency audio transducers to solve a problem Ken (a bass player) and his drummer had. They wanted to be able to feel the low end without turning the stage monitors up so loud that it disturbed the rest of the band. Soon Marvin Clamme, former sound engineer for Tom Jones, Merle Haggard, the Beach Boys, and others, joined forces with Ken to develop the original transducer prototypes. After several years of product development, a patent was issued for this new magnetically suspended transducer.
The result is an innovative sound technology that effectively transforms low-frequency sounds into tactile chair vibrations that the listener can actually feel, solving the musician’s problem. But that turned out to be only the beginning. Now Guitammer technology is being used in movie theaters and presentation sites all over the world, by Disney, IMAX, and AMC, to name a few, successfully enhancing the viewer experience.
To learn more about The Guitammer Company, visit www.guitammer.com
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