Two weeks ago we chatted about the excellent DJ equipment headphones we have all come to rely on. We talked about not just plunking down hundreds of dollars on a market leader without researching the sound quality of the headphones. We did not talk about earbud-style headphones and current concerns that our constant exposure to loud sounds piping directly into our ears is damaging our hearing permanently.
Last week it was announced that New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is about to plunge $250,000 into a campaign to increase awareness of the damage that headphones, and especially earbuds, are doing to our hearing. The campaign will mostly focus on telling young people, through social media, to turn down their constant supply of sound piping directly into their heads.
At maximum volume, an iPod reaches 115 decibels. By most researchers’ standards, a maximum volume of 85 is the cut off for safe and healthy listening. The spread of portable music players, as well as an appetite for louder sounds from high quality home audio equipment, has led to skyrocketing hearing loss among young people. According to data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1988 and 2006, hearing loss among teens has jumped 30%.