Anybody who’s walked and worn headphones at the same time knows that listening to tunes reduces your awarness of what is going on around you.

Just how much was highlighted in a new study published in the journal Injury Prevention, which found that the number of pedestrians in the US who have died or were badly injured while wearing headphones or earbuds has tripled over the past six years, as the devices are becoming more prevalent with walkers.

The overall numbers of causalities are still relatively small. Sixteen were victims of walking while wearing headphones in 2006, whereas that number had jumped to 47 in 2011.

Still, those figures only include deaths and serious injuries linked to iPods, mp3 players and other musical devices and not to mobile phones — which are often used with earbuds, and are also known to distract pedestrians from the dangers around them.

[AFP]