Seventy-five percent of parents say teaching children how to use personal audio technology safely should be a major health priority, according to results of a new online poll [PDF] commissioned by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
One thousand parents with children age 18 and under at home took the poll this past March. It defined "personal audio technology" as devices where headphones or ear buds are used (iPods, other MP3 players, cell phones, computers, and the like). Crux Research created the poll content in consultation with ASHA, while the survey firm Toluna fielded the poll.
The parental call to make safe listening education a major health priority apparently stems from other poll findings like these:
- 42% of all parents polled feel their children use personal audio technology at volume levels that could potentially harm their hearing; the same worry is shared by more than half of the parents of boys ages 13-18 and nearly of half of the parents of girls the same ages.
- 43% of parents of boys ages 13-18 and 42% of parents of girls the same ages say their children use personal audio technology more often than they like.
- 84% of all parents polled say they are concerned that misuse of personal audio technology is damaging the hearing of children in general; within that group of parents, nearly 50% say they are extremely or very concerned; meanwhile, for the same reason, more than half of all minority parents polled say they are extremely or very concerned for the hearing of their children (this finding is most pronounced among Hispanic parents, 63%; African American are next, 50%).
On average, parents think children should be about age 11 before they have unsupervised use of personal audio technology.
"We have long been aware of the potential for noise-induced hearing loss caused by the use of excessive volume and frequent and prolonged listening time," ASHA President Shelly Chabon, PhD, CCC-SLP says. "However, there is a dearth of documentation focused on moms’ and dads’ opinions about poor listening habits. Our poll indicates clearly that parents are not only concerned but, further, believe safe listening should be a major health education priority."
The poll results are being released on the eve of safe-listening concerts that will be held at P.S. 003 Charrette Elementary in New York City on Friday, May 4, as part of the outreach of ASHA’s Listen To Your Buds campaign (www.listentoyourbuds.org).
An original leader raising the importance of using personal audio technology safely to ensure hearing protection, ASHA has brought its Buds campaign to schools coast-to-coast. Buds concerts feature musicians who employ entertaining and engaging ways to deliver simple, but important, hearing health messages like “keep the volume down.”
Bongiovi Acoustics, a cutting edge audio company dedicated to the hearing health of the young, is the newest sponsor of the Listen To Your Buds campaign. Other sponsors include Califone International, Consumer Electronics Association, Educational Audiology Association, Music Teachers National Association, National Association for Music Education, National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, Parents' Choice Foundation, Recording Industry Association of America, and Tune-A-Fish Records.
In addition, more than a dozen members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, serve as honorary campaign co-chairs.
About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 150,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists in the United States and internationally. 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.