As iPod or MP3 use among children grows at an unprecedented rate—fueling concerns that many are using the technology unsafely—the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is launching a new website (www.listentoyourbuds.org) aimed at empowering parents and protecting children from noise-induced hearing loss and other communication difficulties.
The explosion of mobile media and potential for misuse among young people, something ASHA has warned about for years, has led others to raise warning flags and call for more public education. The most recent in a series of studies by the Kaiser Family Foundation about media use among 8- to 18-year-olds found that, in the past five years, ownership of iPods and other MP3 players rose dramatically, from 18 to 76 percent. This statistic is particularly alarming given that in 2009 leading authorities predicted a rise in hearing loss nationally due to unsafe use of personal audio devices.
It's not too late to curtail further hearing damage in younger kids just starting to use personal audio technology and similar devices. Equipped with many new technical features, a new design, and improved navigation, www.listentoyourbuds.org offers visitors access to the latest information about safe use of these devices, hearing loss prevention, and the negative consequences misuse and/or overuse can have on a child.
The site also allows users to participate by taking a personal "pledge" to protect their hearing by following three basic principles:
- Keep the volume down. A good guide is half volume. If someone else can hear the music, it's too loud.
- Limit listening time. Give your hearing "quiet breaks." Damage can occur after just four songs.
- Watch for warning signs of hearing loss.
The site features an up-to-date "Buds" concert calendar of events, designated sections for parents and educators, and access to other national organizations that help get the "Buds" safe listening message to parents, educators, and children. Bookmarking and social media tags are also embedded throughout the site so that visitors can share "Listen to Your Buds" news and information with others on sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Del.icio.us.
In the coming months, ASHA will be introducing new site features including downloadable at-home educational resources for families and additional multimedia.
About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 140,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems including swallowing disorders.
View all ASHA press releases at www.asha.org/about/news.
Listen to all ASHA podcasts at http://podcast.asha.org.
To find an audiologist or speech-language pathologist visit www.asha.org/findpro.