More than 1,000 first- and second-graders from 14 schools in the Washington, D.C. metro area are expected to file into the George Washington University Lisner Auditorium on April 29 at 10:30 a.m. for the Listen to Your Buds concert. The concert is part of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) public education campaign of the same name, which aims to teach children safe listening habits at a young age.
The concert is presented by ASHA in collaboration with the Parents’ Choice Foundation and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). The official media sponsor is Kids Place Live, and the emcee for the event is Absolutely Mindy from SIRIUS XM’s Kids Place Live channel, SIRIUS and XM channel 116.
The Buds concert will kick off ASHA’s nationally recognized Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM) in May. BHSM raises awareness about communication disorders and promotes treatment that can improve the quality of life for those who experience problems with speaking, understanding or hearing.
This free concert has been promoted on a first-come, first-served basis. Lesson plans were disseminated through all local school systems, to help teachers introduce to their students the Buds’ health message of turning down the volume. This educational tool taught children how the ear works and how and why the ear becomes damaged by noise.
Parents’ Choice Foundation Gold Award–winning recording artist Billy Jonas will headline the concert. Nationally acclaimed for his highly interactive “funky folk music for the whole family,” Jonas will weave throughout his performance the main Buds campaign message of turning down the volume.
Listen to Your Buds features not only a concert series but also a national coalition of Parents’ Choice Foundation award–winning musicians who specialize in children’s music. All coalition members have taken the “Buds” pledge, which states they will share the Buds message about safe listening with kids everywhere.
Listentoyourbuds.org is an interactive bilingual Website with educational games for kids and resources for parents and teachers, all for the purpose of instilling in the very young healthy hearing listening habits.
“Even a mild hearing loss can affect a child’s social interaction, communication skills, behavior, emotional development, and academic performance,” says Anne Oyler, ASHA’s associate director of Audiology Professional Practices. “Telling kids to turn down the volume is common sense. We want to be safe, not sorry, especially when dealing with kids.”
Recent research from Johns Hopkins University and the European Union indicates that the prevalence of hearing loss in the United States is predicted to rise significantly due to the growing use of personal audio technology.
Recently, ASHA became the first organization to join NIDCD’s It’s A Noisy Planet: Protect Their Hearing campaign. NIDCD, in turn, is collaborating with ASHA’s Buds campaign and concert.
“When we talk about hearing protection, we often talk about the dangerous sounds and we forget to celebrate the good sounds,” says James F. Battey Jr., MD, Ph.D., director of NIDCD. “Concerts are a fun, innovative way to bring the hearing protection message to our youth while celebrating sounds that everyone loves to hear.”
Dr. Battey discusses noise-induced hearing loss among the young and what parents can do to protect their children’s hearing in ASHA’s latest podcast.
The entire Buds effort belongs to a broader ASHA public education campaign, America: Tuned In Today…But Tuned Out Tomorrow?, which promotes safe listening of personal audio technology and which is sponsored by Califone International, the Consumer Electronics Association, the rock group O.A.R, Tune A Fish Records, Unwired Technology LLC, and Wynit. The campaign delivers safe listening messages to all age groups through various means and the American Society of Association Executives has honored it for two straight years.