The National Institute for the Deaf have issued a warning about mopeds, as they are concerned that a generation of teenagers will be destroying their hearing.
"In the past we've been worried about teenagers and earphones, rock concerts and talking too loudly," said Tim Parney. "None of these come close to the decibel exposure that teenagers are now facing with mopeds."
Mopeds are a low power motorcycle that teenagers as young as sixteen are legally allowed to ride. However, there are no legal guidelines on the amount of noise this main vehicle of the Italian trend-setters can produce.
"More expensive mopeds are quieter," said Parney. "However, most of the scooters that are sold in the UK are not of the expensive variety. This means that their power is inversely proportional to their volume."
A rock concert officially comes in at around a hundred and ten decibels, and non-legal guidelines suggest exposure for less than two minutes to this level of noise. A jack-hammer produces a hundred and twenty-five decibels, and operators are legally required to wear ear-protectors.
"More than eighty percent of mopeds tested," said Parney, "come in at one hundred and thirty decibels. This is equivalent to standing next to a jet plane. Helmets are there to protect skulls in the event of an accident, not protect ears. They are next to useless at this."
The NIftD want new laws brought into bring down the volume of all newly sold mopeds to a more acceptable level of eighty-five decibels, and for those mopeds already on the streets, the owners have to wear specialist helmets with built in ear-protectors.
"We didn't want to have to go the legal route," said Parney. "We wanted a voluntary noise reduction among moped owners. We did tell them, but they're just not listening."