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Feb 16, 2003

The members of the press have a hard job - they need to be “knowledgeable” about a lot of subjects… but then there are times you just can’t help but to cringe when you watch a news broadcast. Fox 25 (in Boston) ran a blurb on thier 10:00pm newscast about hearing loss. In particular, they focused on how everday activities may be exposing people to high noise levels that can lead to progressive hearing damage. So far so good.

They try to emphasize the point by following a representative from the Deafness Research Foundation around Boston with a Radio Shack sound level meter (“decibel meter” in TV parlance). That’s when the queasy feeling starts to set in. I suppose I can ignore the fact they seem to be reading linear decibels (here’s a hint: 150 dB at 30kHz ain’t going to do squat to damage your hearing). But the newscast then shows the representative making a noise measurement in gusting winds, with no windscreen in sight! Later on, the newscast gives typical levels for normal activities including 100 dB for the interior of a car with the radio on, and 140 dB (presumably linear dB) for rock concerts. Uhhh, no. Not even close.

The message is important, and I’m glad the DRF and the local news are trying to spread the word. But please, try to get the facts correct!

By the way, the DRF link above has some pretty good information. Unfortunately, it also has some misleading information, but like I said, they should be commended for fighting the good fight.

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