There apparently is no limit to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Nanny State. In his latest public health initiative, Bloomberg is targeting earbud headphones. Bloomberg and NYC public health officials are planning a social media campaign to warn young people of the risks of losing their hearing from listening to music on their headphones at a high volume.
“With public and private support, a public-education campaign is being developed to raise awareness about safe use of personal music players ... and risks of loud and long listening,” said Nancy Clark, the city Health Department’s assistant commissioner of environmental-disease prevention.
The initiative is expected to cost $250,000 and is being financed by a grant from the Fund for Public Health, the fundraising arm of the Health Department.
The New York Post writes, “The Hearing Loss Prevention Media Campaign will target teens and young adults, conducting focus-group interviews and using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.”
Noise reduction has been a target of Bloomberg since taking office. In 2005, he signed “Operation Silent Night” which changed the noise code by cracking down on jackhammer sounds at construction sites and on music in clubs in order to “make New York quieter and more livable.”
The New York Post notes that hearing loss has become a growing epidemic among young people, increasing 30 percent between 1988 and 2006.
Bloomberg is not proposing laws to limit or eliminate the use of earbuds — yet. But some pundits believe that the social media initiative is just the beginning.
Conservative pundit Glenn Beck opined on his radio program, “He’s going to try first to educate. But if that doesn’t work.... He’s going to have to be regulating the ear buds — what can be sold, and what should be worn, and how loud things can get.”
Beck concluded sardonically, “If you’re against that, it’s most likely just because you’re an extremist because [Bloomberg] knows better.”
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