Extremely Loud and Incredibly Unsafe

Noise is one of the great neglected health hazards of our time—the secondhand smoke of our ears

My wife and I recently took our three sons to Benihana for dinner. It's their favorite restaurant, thanks to the unbeatable combination of airborne food and machete-size knives.

But what I noticed was the noise: the hiss of the soy sauce on the grill, the escalating chatter of the crowd—and our young sons, who are loud beyond comprehension. Each carried a little plastic trumpet from a birthday party, so it was like being followed around by our own private South African soccer game. We finally pried the ghastly instruments...