June is National Safety Month and we’re committed to raising awareness about something we feel strongly about (being open to your surroundings). Today, we're sharing an important message from our friend and founder of One Ear Out, Mark Neitro. If the reach of our brand helps this organization save even one life, it's worth the effort.
You can show your support for One Ear Out by sharing their story (on social media, with family members, friends) and/or by pledging to keep (at least) one ear out. For more information, please visit One Ear Out's website or give them a follow on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
- by Mark Neitro
A deadly combination of headphones and a train took our daughter away from us.
Amanda Kirchner was killed on August 13th, 2016. Colorful, independent and unique describes her. She was ready for all the challenges the world had to offer, moving out of our house just 10 days before her death. Amanda would have turned 21 on October 1st, 2016.
Amanda was walking to work and what stood between work and her were train tracks. She was hit and killed by a train in Westminster, Colorado. Amanda was wearing her noise-canceling headphones and didn't hear the train's warning horn.
She didn't just love music, it was her life. From an early age she could play music by just hearing it, saw colors in music, played percussion in the marching band and was studying to be an electronic music producer in college. Everywhere Amanda went she was listening to her music, usually with the volume all the way up. Music was so much a part of her identity that pictures of her, even her drawn portraits, show her wearing headphones. Wearing her noise-canceling headphones became an accessory to her style.
Parents always worry about their kids, always. We talked to Amanda about what she needed to prepare for life. Discussions about relationships, how to be successful, how to treat others, how to protect yourself and how to be safe in your surroundings. Headphone use was ALWAYS a part of those discussions. Hopefully, sharing her story might help you with a teachable moment for someone you care about.
Amanda is not alone. Through a simple Google search, I found 35 people killed by trains while wearing over-the-ear or in-ear headphones:
- Katie Littlewood, 15, Bishop's Stortford, England. 1/28/12
- Anita Lewis, 42, White Rock, BC. 7/14/2013
- Chamone McGraw, 16, Newberry, SC. 9/7/13
- Janaki Rose Hayes, 27, Truckee, CA. 4/11/14
- Brittney Silva, 18, San Leandro, CA. 5/19/14
- Tiffany Williams, 16, Maple Ridge, BC. 10/5/14
- Victoria “Torry” Archibald, 16, Wellington, CO. 2/9/15
- Timothy Welsted, 59, New Orleans, LA. 2/24/15
- Jeffery Bellinger, 13, Cedar Lake, IL. 3/18/15
- Jacob Allen Davis, 30, Bellingham, WA. 5/13/2015
- 39-year-old woman, Wichita, KS. 7/31/15
- John Bowling, 24, Pevely, MO. 11/9/15
- Henry De la Cruz, 15, Petersburg, VA. 12/2/15
- Jesus Villalobos, 16, Miami, FL. 12/10/15
- Matt Meijer, 27, New Plymouth, New Zealand. 1/11/16
- James Pulsifer, 16, Slidell, LA. 1/20/16
- 14-year-old girl, Murcia, Spain. 6/1/16
- William Albach, 45, Hobart, IN. 6/27/16
- Amanda Kirchner, 20, Westminster, CO. 8/13/16
- Jason Orosco, 16, Marfa, TX. 9/10/16
- Matthew Smith, 17, Polk County, TN. 9/22/16
- Ciara Hasselman, 17, Oakmont, PA. 10/15/16
- Christopher Duncan, 20, Chelsea, MI. 1/24/17
- Selvin Eduardo Grijalva Olivares, 18, Thomasville, NC. 2/6/17
- 30-year-old man, Calgary, Alberta. 2/20/17
- Elijah Gabriel Kidwell(Walker), 12, Redding, CA. 3/15/17
- Alexander David Stout, 16, Copperas Cove, TX. 3/22/17
- Raja Kumar, Nayanagar, India. 4/14/17
- Chandrashekhar Kumar, Nayanagar, India. 4/14/17
- Mohammad Karim, Nayanagar, India. 4/14/17
- Keenan Matthes, 16, West Auckland, Australia. 4/20/17
- ReAnna Wilson, 13, Canadian, TX. 5/13/17
- 60-year-old woman, Calgary, Alberta. 5/16/17
- Kristoffer McCreary, 33, Baker County, OR. 5/28/17
- Joanna Lopez, 14, Sante Fe Springs, CA. 6/9/17
I started #OneEarOut in memory of Amanda and to raise awareness for distracted headphone use. It’s simple. If you wear regular headphones, keep one of them off your ear when you are in a dangerous situation. If you’re walking, running or cycling, keep #OneEarOut. Tune into your surroundings and be able to react.
We live in a world of distractions. It is easier to be distracted now than at any other time in history. If you can't hear your surroundings, you are oblivious to what is happening around you.
I first learned about AfterShokz because of our tragedy. A family friend works at a liquor store on Capitol Hill in Denver, Colorado. John came in wearing his AfterShokz headphones and my friend was instantly intrigued.
She sent me this photo and I knew that AfterShokz shared our same mission of keeping people safe.
#BeOpen says it all. With nothing restricting your hearing, AfterShokz lets you hear everything around you. Other headphone manufacturers can’t share the same message because of their design.
We ask if you’re wearing those other headphones to keep #OneEarOut for your safety and in memory of Amanda:
Our pledge is simple. Please take a selfie with #OneEarOut and share your pledge with us on social media or in an email. Here are just a few of our #OneEarOut pledges:
You can find us on all the major social media platforms:
Please keep #OneEarOut while walking, cycling and running. Let's also try to help family, friends and others stay safe by spreading our message. Have a discussion and end it with a hug for Amanda: