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Beyond NIDCD: News from Other Organizations

Ubi demonstration
Results of the NIHL
survey were posted at
the AAA conference for
attendees to view.

Feature story

AAA Hears from Audiologists about NIHL in Tweens

The American Academy of Audiology (AAA) recently asked its members to share their views about the extent, causes, and prevention of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) in children ages eight to 12, aka the “tweens.” More than 800 members took part in an online survey conducted in March, with the results posted at the annual AAA conference.

Forty-four percent of survey respondents believe that NIHL is increasing in tweens. (Thirty percent reported no change, and 26 percent hadn’t seen NIHL in this age group.) The impression that NIHL is increasing is strongest among audiologists who practice in a rural area, with more than 52 percent of this group reporting an increase. The greatest perceived risks to the hearing of children are entertainment, such as video games and portable music players; sports recreation, such as hunting and shooting; and one-time exposure to acoustic trauma, such as a gunshot or explosion at close range.

According to most respondents, parents and children lack sufficient knowledge about the causes and prevention of NIHL. Sixty-five percent of audiologists describe children’s knowledge of the steps they could take to protect their hearing in noisy situations as “nonexistent.” Respondents submitted numerous suggestions about ways to fill the knowledge gap. The most frequently mentioned opportunity was the schools, with their potential to incorporate hearing education into curricula from kindergarten through high school. Greater use of public service announcements, particularly through television and other mass media, was another common suggestion. The audiologists also frequently identified themselves as having both the opportunity and the responsibility to help educate parents and children in their community about NIHL.

Survey results were posted at the annual AAA conference, which was held April 19–21, 2007, in Denver, CO.  At the conference, AAA offered for the first time a “SuperTrack” of seminars on hearing loss prevention and also invited local school children to visit its DiscovEARy Zone, which featured the Dangerous Decibels interactive curriculum on NIHL prevention.

NIDCD thanks the AAA for sharing its survey analysis with the institute.  NIDCD is developing a national public education campaign about NIHL that will target tweens and their parents.

New National Technical Assistance and Dissemination Center

The National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) is a newly funded project for children and youth who are deaf-blind. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, NCDB brings together the resources of three agencies with long histories of expertise in the field of deaf-blindness: the Teaching Research Institute at Western Oregon University, the Helen Keller National Center, and the Hilton/Perkins Program at the Perkins School for the Blind. NCDB works collaboratively with families and federal, state, and local agencies to provide technical assistance, information, and personnel training. For more information about NCDB, visit the Web site at: www.nationaldb.org

BHI Unveils Campaign; Offers Documentary on Hearing Loss

The goal of the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is to elevate the importance of hearing in America through public and medical education. To this end the BHI has unveiled its print public service announcement campaign to 7,000 magazines and newspapers across America. There are seven print ads, all recommending that people with hearing loss visit a hearing health professional. To view the seven ads, visit www.betterhearing.org/press/PSA

BHI’s documentary, Spotlight on Hearing Loss, is now available for viewing and download (in multiple resolutions and formats) from the BHI Web site. In addition, it is now available in home DVD format.  To order the documentary, go to: www.betterhearing.org/professionals/

The National Association of Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) Offers Workshop for State Directors
Meeting the Needs of Students who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing

The Deaf Education Initiative Project will train local and state personnel with responsibility for students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, their families, and consumers in such areas as federal statutes, policy guidance, and promising practices from the field. This project helps participants adapt nationally recognized practices to their state-specific needs.

The dates for the seminars are set by the state in collaboration with NASDSE.

Contact: Gaylen S. Pugh, Ph.D.
               Project Director
               Blindness Training Initiative & Deaf Education Initiative Project
               NASDSE
Phone: 256-772-4350
E-mail: gaylenp@knology.net

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