New York City can make you deaf: new study links city noise to hearing loss

The locals hate midtown, and we just got another reason why.

It turns out that visiting the most heavily trafficked neighborhood in Manhattan could be hazardous to your health. Noise is the problem. Of course, it comes as no shock that parts of Manhattan can be quite loud. People, taxi horns and construction represent just part of the list that can rattle your ears and, eventually, cost you your hearing.

According to a study being released today at the International Conference on Urban Health at The New York Academy of Medicine, there are several neighborhoods where the risk to your hearing is substantial, especially for residents who become accustomed to it over time.

My Fox New York reports:

Most readings – even in several small parks meant to be oases of green and calm – were above 70 decibels. People whose daily noise exposure tops an average of 70 decibels can lose some of their hearing over time, said Richard Neitzel, a University of Washington research scientist and another of the study’s authors.

The result, of course, is that people have nowhere to go for a little peace and quiet.

Some of the noisiest spots in the city aren’t where you’d think to find them. Of course, midtown is noisy, but First Avenue above 14th Street? Broadway in Inwood? Well, these are the city’s trucking routes, which kicks up the decibels a bit. The Lower East Side, East Village and West Village, it seems, have fewer buffers and the added complication of nightlife – not a problem on the Upper West Side (I can assure you), which is fairly quiet.

[photo by joiseyshowaa via Flickr]

SkyMall Monday: Stealth Secret Sound Amplifier

We all want to look cool. Cool looking people are just, well, cooler than regular people. Sadly, as we get older, it becomes harder to look cool. Unless you’re Sean Connery, who is just a cool old man. But I digress. Here at SkyMall Monday, it’s important that we always look cool and help you do the same. So, as you age and your faculties begin to fail you, fear not. Our favorite catalog is there to catch us when we fall. If you’re getting up there in years and your hearing is beginning to worsen, you can’t just go around cupping your ear and saying, “What’s that?” at an obnoxious volume. No, you need to discreetly and sexily enhance your hearing. And that’s why there’s no better remedy for your hearing problems than the Stealth Secret Sound Amplifier.

This is no average hearing aid. This device looks like one of those fancy-schmancy Bluetooth gadgets that all the hip and happening young professionals are wearing with their Blackberries and whatnots.* Your hair may be silver, your face may have more crow’s feet than, well, a group of crows (which is called a murder), but that doesn’t mean you’re out of touch with today’s trends. With this baby in your ear, you’ll be popping and locking rather than Lindy Hopping in no time.

Think I’m over-playing my hand? Well, the joke’s on you because we’re not even playing cards. But, as always, the proof is in the pudding product description:

If a conventional hearing aid sounds like an embarrassment to you, try the Stealth Secret Sound Amplifier. It looks just like a cell phone ear adapter and works as a sound enhancer so you can join conversations and even hear soft voices from 50 feet away. Now you can enjoy the best of both worlds: a more youthful appearance and better hearing.

So, if a minuscule, flesh-colored, in-ear hearing aid sounds like an embarrassment to you, why not be that guy who keeps his phone earpiece on at all times? People are sure to think that you’re a cool old man now. Now, if you could only figure out how to use those new-fangled cellphones and could convince your grandkids to turn down that noise that they call the hip hops.

* And by hip and happening I mean tremendously douchey.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.