Listen up, New Yorkers

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.

Hofstra student Ehlayna Napolitano listens to loud music while walking to classes and doing work. Photo by Magdalene Michalik.

Hofstra student Ehlayna Napolitano listens to loud music while walking to classes and doing work. Photo by Magdalene Michalik.

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.

People use their iPods and other music players to listen to their music on full blast. There should be greater awareness about hearing loss. Once it's gone, it's gone. Photo by Magdalene Michalik.

People use their iPods and other music players to listen to their music on full blast. There should be greater awareness about hearing loss. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Photo by Magdalene Michalik.

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Breaking news: the future of journalism will be okay

An older man recently stopped me to congratulate me on a scholarship that I received in January, saying that he recognized my face from an article about the award. His compliment transitioned into a conversation and we discussed topics such as my other accomplishments and where was studying. He then asked me what field I was majoring in, and I replied proudly, “journalism.” He shook his head and said, “How could someone so smart be so stupid?”

He was referring to the future of journalism, which is experiencing a transition. Due to its tenuous state, there are not as many jobs in the field, for example.

Of course, I defended myself, telling him the same thing I tell everyone: Journalism does have a future. It is just changing.

His comment, however, is something that I have heard over and over again.

Major newspapers, such as The New York Times, continue to be published in print as well as embracing the digital age. Photo by Magdalene Michalik.

“The future of journalism looks more innovative and creative than ever before,” said Don Dreyer, mass media professor at Hofstra University.

If we look at the history of mass media, according to Dreyer, journalism has already endured its fair share of transitions, for example from cave art to the printing press or the introduction of broadcast media.

“There will be a continuation of this crafting of a balance between the self made digital journalist and establishment form of journalism,” said Dreyer. “We have the opportunity through the availability of digital resources for discovery on an unprecedented number of writers, thinkers and policy shapers.”

“There will be a continuation of this crafting of a balance between the self made digital journalist and establishment form of journalism,” said Dreyer. “We have the opportunity through the availability of digital resources for discovery on an unprecedented number of writers, thinkers and policy shapers.”

These new digital mediums include social media, blogs and online newspapers. Such would include Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and The New York Times.

Many people, such as this journalism student, get their news online. Photo by Magdalene Michalik.

Many people, such as this journalism student, get their news online. Photo by Magdalene Michalik.

“[Online journalism] has opened the conversation about what is going on in the world,” said Carol Fletcher, journalism professor at Hofstra University. “There have never been as many people reporting before.”

One example of this digital transition is Hofstra University’s student newspaper, The Chronicle. The publication is incorporating social media, like Twitter and Facebook, and publishes an online version in addition to the traditional print version.

“We’re dealing with less print and more progress with things like social media,” said Samantha Neudorf, news editor of The Chronicle. “I don’t think it’s dying. It’s heading towards a new direction which is the digital world.”

Fletcher is, however, concerned about the content of stories in this new medium.  According to Fletcher, since the traditional models of reporting are changing, lengthy, in-depth reports about topics like government corruption, may be deemed not worthy of this expense.

Although nobody can say for sure where the field will be- we all know it will just be different. Isn’t that the exciting part?’

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Will there be a time when all notes will be taken digitally as well? Photo by Magdalene Michalik.

“Journalism has a bright future,” said Fletcher. “Studies have shown that the public of consumption of news has only increased. People have a bigger appetite for the news.”

Next time someone recognizes me and criticizes my career path, I may just say, “You saw me in a newspaper, didn’t you?”