This isn’t some old timey curmudgeon agenda, or because of your specific tastes. There’s a new program taking shape in New York that could regulate in-ear music that’s too loud. But it’s for your own good, health officials say.
Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene wants to “better inform and educate New Yorkers about ways to protect hearing from exposure to loud sounds,” the Health Department said. Basically, if your music can be heard by the person next to you, it’s too loud, and could lead to years of irreversible hearing loss.
ABCNews’s report doesn’t say how officials will regulate listeners if their music is determined to be too loud. As of now, it only seems like a program is underway aimed at educating the public. One study cited from 2011 revealed that one in five people older than 12 suffers hearing loss severe enough to make communication problematic. Listen to loud music long enough and often enough, and some individuals could experience hearing loss for decades. One day you might not even be able to listen to music at all if damage is severe enough.
“Very loud noise or sound, even if only for a split second, can cause damage, but even lower-duration sounds, if exposed long enough, can cause sensory-neural hearing loss,” said Dr. Sean McMenomey, director of otology at New York University. “The hearing loss can be with [someone] for 70 to 80 years.”
The suggested level by McMenomey is at 80dB, which should be plenty for users to enjoy while walking down the street. Of course, New York is a loud, raucous city, so it might be second nature for some people to crank the volume up. Just know, listener, that Taylor Swift’s newest single may be putting your health at risk.