After launching campaigns against the Big Gulp, “big” salt and “big” junk food, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is embarking on a new target.
He wants to stop New Yorkers from going deaf, so he’s put in motion an attack on ear buds, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Wednesday. Now hear this … there’s a new enemy of the nanny state: people who choose to listen to loud music on their favorite devices. Bloomberg, who apparently has never met a health crusade he didn’t think worthy of embarking on, is launching a campaign to warn people about the risks of losing their hearing from blasting music on their headphones.
The initiative is aimed at the iPod generation, the people who were the first to put buds directly into their ears. Officials say an iPod reaches 115 decibels at maximum volume. Doctors say sound has to be below 85 decibels to be safe. One doctor told CBS 2’s Kramer the mayor’s initiative is a good one.
“There is a real threat for noise exposure ruining hearing. This will occur gradually over time. But what you’re looking at is a series of young people that may be experiencing hearing loss and the need for hearing aids at a much earlier age than any of their family members,” said Dr. Jayde Steckowych of New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia Presbyterian Center.
“I’m seeing a whole host of young teenagers who are coming in with early signs of noise-induced hearing loss,” audiologist Dr. Won Choe of ENT& Allergy told WCBS 880′s Wayne Cabot. “These kids are bombarded by media.” Choe said earbuds like the ones that come with many Apple products seem to be most damaging. Choe, who is not involved with the city effort, said the more expensive noise-cancelling headphones are better for the user’s hearing and are recommended for those who are listening to personal music devices while commuting.
The audiologist said people standing nearby should not be able to hear what you are listening to in your headphones. “That’s just incredible amounts of noise exposure,” Choe said. Experts say hearing loss increased 30 percent among teenagers and young adults between 1988 and 2006. But not everyone is thrilled about the mayor’s get-rid-of-the-ear-buds health initiative.