boy listeningIn an effort to head off hearing loss – particularly among young people -- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has launched a quarter-million dollar effort to warn of the dangers of using personal listening devices (PLDs) at high volumes.

The Hearing Loss Prevention Media Campaign is using social media and focus groups to alert its target audience to the risk of losing their hearing from the improper use of ear buds and other PLDs.

At maximum volume, iPods can reach the jet-plane level of 115 decibels; well above the 85-decibel level considered safe by hearing conservationists. In addition to causing temporary deafness and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) noises above 110 decibels can damage the coating of nerve cells, according to a study done by scientists at the University of Leicester.

Audiologists have reported increasing numbers of teenaged patient showing early signs of noise-induced hearing loss. Some have predicted that young people will need hearing aids at a much earlier age than their parents and grandparents.

This is not the first health initiative put into place by Bloomberg. Since being elected to his post in 2001, he has banned, in New York City:

  • trans fats
  • smoking in bars and restaurants
  • menu boards that don’t include calorie counts
  • Soft drinks larger than 16 ounces

Does your workplace need a PLD policy? Click here to read the ISHN article.