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Beyond NIDCD: News from Other Organizations

Several organizations that promote hearing health have developed campaigns and materials aimed at preventing NIHL in young people. Visit the Web sites of the following organizations to find out more about their programs and how you can become involved.

American Academy of Audiology
Recognizing that the risk of permanent hearing loss from noise exposure is very real for individuals of all ages, the American Academy of Audiology launched its “Turn It to the Left” campaign ( to raise public awareness about the dangers of exposure to loud sound and to raise funds to support NIHL-related research. The campaign takes its name from the title of an educational rap song on NIHL written by the Academy’s good friend, musician Benjamin Jackson. The rap’s “hook” urges all to take the volume control and “turn it to the left.” Copies of the CD and other educational materials are available through the campaign Web site and through the AAA Web site.

American Speech–Language–Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA’s health education campaign “Listen to Your Buds” is an effort to teach young children about safe listening habits. The campaign Web site, features interactive information for children and offers advice to parents, educators, and the media.

In November 2008, ASHA took the NIHL prevention message on the road by featuring children’s music star Justin Roberts at the first “Listen to Your Buds” concert at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. ASHA is partnering with the Parents’ Choice Foundation to form a national coalition of musicians popular with young children to promote safe listening.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH)
The CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) works to prevent behaviors by children, adolescents, and young adults that may harm their health. DASH programs are based on the conviction that each school day provides an opportunity for our nation’s 55 million students to learn about their health and how to promote it. Among other offerings, the DASH Web site provides links to health educational materials and curricula for classroom use.

Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers (H.E.A.R.)
Started in 1988 by rock-and-roll musician Kathy Peck, H.E.A.R.’s mission is to prevent hearing loss and tinnitus among musicians and music fans (especially teens) through educational awareness and grassroots outreach and advocacy. The H.E.A.R. Web site provides information to help individuals determine if they are at risk for NIHL and select earplugs that will protect their hearing. The site also offers free downloadable public service announcements by popular musicians as well as educational materials for high schoolers. In addition, the site links to a hearing conservation exhibit at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, with online listening activities for all ages.

House Ear Institute
In 2006, the House Ear Institute launched the “It’s How You Listen That Counts” campaign, featuring a cartoon ear with legs named Ear Bud. Ear Bud is designed to appeal to teens and young adults as a wacky “buddy” who loves hanging out with friends and listening to music. The main purpose of this campaign is to encourage teens to be smart about their listening habits and to protect their hearing so they can enjoy their music. Materials are available at the campaign Web site.

National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA)
NHCA encourages and disseminates research about hearing conservation, and also promotes “Crank It Down,” an outreach effort to encourage local communities and schools to educate children and adolescents about the risk of NIHL. The “Crank It Down” brochure and other educational materials are available on the NHCA Web site. In addition, the NCHA site links to other programs and materials aimed at NIHL prevention for children.

Sertoma
Sertoma is a not-for-profit civic organization, which assists the more than 50 million people with hearing health issues. In 2009, Sertoma and Hearing Charities will introduce “Celebrate Sound,” a national public awareness campaign to prevent NIHL in people of all ages. The campaign will feature an interactive Web site that will offer a simple hearing test and enable users to experience some hearing health issues. The site will link to other components of the campaign, including online information, educational materials, and a new national hearing aid bank of free or reduced-cost hearing aids for those in need. The “Celebrate Sound” campaign supplements Sertoma’s SafeEARS project. The SafeEARS project involves giving kits—containing educational materials on hearing loss prevention, earplugs, and a media package—to members of Sertoma’s 650 clubs. Club members use the kits to raise local public awareness of the need to protect hearing from excessive noise.

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