CBS News reports that New York's Mayor Bloomberg is now turning his attention to the volume originating from ear buds. That's right. Bloomberg, famous for banning trans-fats and then the Big Gulp from New York City, is now concerned about your hearing.
His next crusade: loud ear buds users. The Mayor's initiative is aimed at the iPod-generation. His goal is to educate this segment of our population that listening to loud music over a period of time will damage your hearing.
First, while this is well intentioned, this should be the roll of parents, not the state. Any good parent who is worth their weight in salt knows that if they can hear the music or video their child is playing while wearing ear buds, means the volume is too loud. That said, kids are kids and sometimes don't listen to parents. That's why others (friends, neighbors, teachers, ministers and other community members) should also reinforce this message. Again, this is not the role of the state. I'm sure the NYPD have plenty of other things occupying their time not to add "tell iPod people who play their music too loud in their ear buds to turn the volume down". Apparently the mayor and I disagree on that.
Second, any person who is blasting music so loud through their ear buds that others can hear too has a bigger problem than just potential hearing loss. They are either seeking attention, trying to be cool in front of peers, or are seeking to escape from mental or emotional pain. In other words there is a deeper, underlying problem that should be addressed. Just warning them about the potential damage to their hearing will go in one ear and out the other (pun intended).
When solving a problem you want to treat the cause, not the symptom. The mayor's attempt at warning (and I'm sure soon regulating) ear bud volume on iPods, iPhones and other portable devices may make him feel better but will do nothing to address real issues.
Wow, all this writing has made me hungry and thirsty. I think I'm going to head to the local mini-mart for a pronto-pup and a 32oz Coke. And while I'm at it, I think I'll listen to a little music along the way.