At some point, we have all experienced hearing someone’s music blasting from his or her headphones. Sometimes it feels as though you are listening to the music yourself.
There is a point where too loud becomes too dangerous. A recent report conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey stated that 1 in 5 teens have hearing loss. These numbers are only increasing.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his Hearing Loss Prevention Media Campaign last week. This public health initiative will include education over social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. More specifically, the target audience is mostly teens.
Wait, Bloomberg, wasn’t this the plot of Footloose? In this fictitious musical, enjoying music in public is banned.
“People who are exposed to loud noises interferes with the ability for the hair cells in our ear to send messages to the brain,” said Dr. Doron Milstein, audiologist and professor at Hoftra University. “It ultimately affects our ability to communicate if you’re unable to hear or misinterpret sounds.”
The clinical term for this is called noise induced hearing loss, according to Milstein. As of now, hearing loss is a permanent damage. The most damage will occur to the people who are exposed to the longest and loudest noises.
According to Milstein, inside the middle ear section of the ear, there are hair cells that are stimulated by sound. When the cells receive the message, it sends the message from a nerve to the brain stem. Then, the brain processes the sound. Therefore, when there is damage in the hair cells, it affects our ability to hear. This damage is exactly what loud music playing in headphones does.
Unless we protect ourselves, those are the consequences. We need to educate people to understand that you can’t just take an antibiotic or drops to fix this.
“The less you expose yourself the better,” said Milstein. “Hearing loss inhibits people’s daily functioning. With this one, education is the key to prevention.”
This education is exactly what the Hearing Loss Prevention Media Campaign is promoting.
Ultimately, they’re not trying to stop us to listen to music. They’re just trying to cause awareness to something, like smoking.
I have a feeling that New York City won’t be as dramatic as the town of Bomont from Footloose, but it is taking the proper steps to ensure appropriate education to the public.