Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Turn It Down!

Here's a little piece I wrote for my Journalism class. You can follow the Wordpress where this was originally posted here

"Turn It Down!"

We’ve all had that moment, whether it be someone is talking too loudly or you just need to shut out the world, where we turn up the volume, put our earphones in, and block the outside world for a few minutes. However, cranking up the volume may be a hidden danger to your health. New reports have come out claiming that excessive use of earphones at a high volume can cause permanent hearing loss. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders recently stated that prolonged exposure to sound above 85 decibels can cause damage to hearing; earphones, at maximum volume, can reach up to 105 decibels.
While there are other things that reach high decibels in our lives, like motorcycles, lawn mowers, and power tools, we don’t usually listen to these things on a daily basis for long periods of time. Earphones, however, are stuck right in our ears as music blasts against our eardrums. Prolonged exposure to noise at such a high level on a regular basis causes hearing damage in 1 out of 8 children and teens and 1 in 6 adults, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Such damage includes partial or total hearing loss, trouble hearing high frequencies, problems focusing on certain sounds in noisy situations, or an internal ringing in the ears.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is championing the campaign to get people, especially teens and young adults, to turn down the volume. The Health Department recently released a statement saying that they wish, “to better inform and educate New Yorkers,” about hearing loss. In his 11 years in office, Bloomberg has tried to get New Yorkers to kick their unhealthy habits, like smoking, drinking giant sodas, consuming too many calories, and now, listening to their music at a high volume. He’s launching a $250,000 social media campaign (which has already raised $70,000 from an anonymous donor, according to the Wall Street Journal). The campaign will aim to warn teens about the risks of hearing loss as a result of listening to loud music through earphones.
While I’m all for living a healthy lifestyle, there are some things people just won’t change. Kids, especially teenagers, seem to have this idea that what they do now doesn’t affect their health, especially long term. While I personally try to keep the volume low, since you can’t always drown everything out, most people blast their music to the point where I can hear it over my music. While this is absurd, putting out recommendations won’t solve the problem. People are going to do what they think is best, even when they face the consequences.

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