Bloomberg to target loud headphones in new campaign

The city is preparing to launch a social media campaign to warn teens and young adults of the dangers of listening to music too loudly on headphones. (Credit: Getty Images)
The city will use social media to warn teens and young adults about the risk of hearing loss as a result of listening to loud music on iPods and other personal music players. (Credit: Getty Images)

Now he’s coming after your headphones.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg who has previously banned smoking in public places, cracked down on noisy, limited soda sizes and aims to get rid of Styrofoam, has now turned his gaze or rather his ears towards getting people to crank down the volume on their headphones.
The city is planning a social media campaign blitz as well as conducting focus groups to warn young people about the dangers of loud music blasting through their headphones, the health department said yesterday.

With grant money from the Fund for Public Health in New York, the Hearing Loss Prevention Media Campaign will use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to alert users to the risks of hearing damage, including increased risk of injury.
The New York Post reported that the campaign would cost $250,000, although the health department said they were still unsure of the final cost.

The rise of personal media players such as the iPod have increased cases of hearing loss, with a rise of more than 30 percent between 1988 and 2006, the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reported.

“I’m seeing [hearing damage and loss] more and more in the 20s, 30s and 40s. Usually we see it in the 50s and 60s,” said Dr. Ana Kim, Director of Otologic Research at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. She recommends keeping the volume lower than 50 percent and using headphones rather than earbuds.

However, headphones may be less satisfying to the user since earbuds physically block outside sounds and are louder than over-the-ear or on ear headsets, B&H communications director Henry Posner said.

But the ultimate hearing damage still depends on the music volume.

“Users who abuse them, playing music so loud folks standing nearby can hear what’s being played, are the problem. I’m all for safety but this is an instance where I don’t think we can necessarily blame one brand or design,” Posner said.


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