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Summer Vacation Doesn't Give Kids' Ears A Break

Health Experts, Audiologists, Music And Tech Leaders Join Forces To Encourage Safe Usage Of Personal Audio Technology

(Rockville, MD - June 15, 2011)  

A kick-off event today for the American Speech-Language Hearing Association's (ASHA) Listen To Your Buds campaign will spotlight the potential harm the misuse of personal audio technology can have on hearing. 

The timing for it couldn't be better, with school letting out and kids about to have more time to fill summer vacation hours using earbuds and headphones to listen to music, play video games and watch movies. Experts are concerned that many are listening too loudly for too long, misuse that can lead to noise induced hearing loss. According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, one in five teens now suffer some hearing loss.  

Today's event will be true to the musically inspired character of the ASHA's campaign. Held at the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), it will feature emcee Mindy Thomas of the Absolutely Mindy Show on Sirius XM's Kids Place Live! and the music of two-time Grammy winner Bill Harley, "the Mark Twain of contemporary children's music," according to Entertainment Weekly. Both will use their communication and musical skills to encourage safe listening not only with the kids in attendance, but also all invited guests, including members of Congress, the Administration, and celebrity entertainers.

Besides RIAA and Kids Place Live!, Califone, the Consumer Electronics Association, the Educational Audiology Association, Music Teachers National Association, the National Association For Music Education, the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, the National Institute On Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, Parents' Choice Foundation, and Tune A Fish Records have joined together to spread the Buds campaign message.  

In addition, more than a dozen members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, have agreed to serve as honorary campaign co-chairs. Meanwhile, Harley is among 60 leading children's musicians who have come aboard the campaign.

"Our Buds campaign has been in schools around the country where kids have greeted it with joyful participation, and adults have emphatically shared their concern about how young students may be harming their hearing by misusing personal technology," ASHA 2011 President Paul R. Rao, PhD CCC-SLP says.  

"Given the extent of the need, it is imperative that we broaden the reach of the Buds campaign," Dr. Rao adds. "We are so grateful for the commitment and interest we have garnered from tech and music industry allies, legislators, leading educational groups, major media, multi-cultural and multi-racial organizations, outstanding artists, and highly respected health experts—all 'Buds of the Buds'."  

The Buds campaign encourages the public to practice these simple steps with respect to personal audio technology:  

  1. Value and protect your hearing so that you can listen for lifetime.
  2. Turn down the volume: a good guide is no more than half volume.
  3. Give your ears a rest and take listening breaks. 
  4. Parents, model safe listening for kids; do not value blaring music or other sounds. Particularly during summer when kids have more time to use personal audio technology, take time to talk to them about using it safely.
  5. Visit, take the safe listening pledge, and share it with family and friends.
  6. For questions related to hearing health and hearing protection, seek the help of a certified audiologist. You can find one in your area at


About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 145,000 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   

Hear all ASHA podcasts at


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