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5:33pm on Saturday, 25th February, 2006:



I've finished my 646-mile round trip to icebox that is Middlesbrough, and am back in the tropics of Colchester.

Something I've noticed before while driving, and which I noticed again, is how the volume of the music I'm listening to is seemingly affected by the engine noise. Here's gow it goes: I'm driving along at 70mph and I have a tape on, and I have to turn it up to hear it over the sound of the engine. Then, when I stop for fuel and switch the engine off, the music is so loud that it actually hurts my ears.

Now why is that? Why doesn't it hurt my ears at 70mph when there's the extra noise of the engine being added to it, but when I switch off the engine so there's only the music, it's so loud that it's painful?

I'm sure this is a well-known phenomenon and physicists call it the something-or-other effect, but I haven't come across it anywhere to date.

At least my ears aren't ringing when I get out of the car, anyway.

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Copyright © 2006 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).