I hate to be a Debbie Downer in putting up a critical post on Mayor Bloomberg so soon after Charlotte's post praising the Mayor for his new campaign to curtail teen pregnancy. But it appears Bloomberg's up to his old tricks. This time, he's worried you might be going deaf.

The New York Post reports

Hizzoner’s health officials are planning a social-media campaign to warn young people about the risk of losing their hearing from listening to music at high volume on personal MP3 players, The Post has learned.

“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.

Want even better news? This ad campaign is going to cost $250,000, part of which will be funded with taxpayer money; money that could go to a whole bunch of other important things–like improving city services. But the Mayor seems incapable of controlling his urge to manage every aspect of New Yorkers lives. The Post reports that this isn't the first time noise has annoyed him. In 2002, he signed “Operation Silent Night” which cracked down on jolting jackhammer sounds at construction sites and on music blaring out of clubs.  The goal of the program was to help “make New York quieter and more livable.” Too bad the Mayor seems uninterested in a few other things that make the city unlivable, like massive transportation problems, housing shortages, increasing crime and high unemployment.

Criticizing Mayor Bloomberg on this new initiative doesn't mean I'm denying there's a problem with people blowing their ear drums while listening to loud music. Clearly, this is a problem. As the Post article points out, ear "buds" that are inserted directly into the ears, and the fact that modern, portable music players have longer lasting batteries may be doing more harm to consumers' hearing than the Sony Walkman of the 1980s. Yet, people (particularly New York City voters) need to ask: is this the role of the government? 

Another question: will this ad campaign even be effective? Does Mayor Bloomberg really think a young person sitting on the subway is going to be encouraged to turn down the volume on their IPhone because of some poster on teh Subway wall?  Perhaps a better way to approach this would be if a private organization partnered with prominent members of the music industry. In the past, the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary has partnered with Sting and trumpeter Chris Botti to encourage people to get their hearing tested.

That's a far better approach. Kids are much more likely to listen to their musical idols about the importance of caring for their hearing health. Surely the Mayor and his legion of Hollywood heavyweight friends could make a few calls and leave the tax dollars to be directed at more important things.