Today is International Ear Care Day, and the American
Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is using the occasion to applaud and
promote the launch of Make Listening Safe, a new campaign by the World Health
Organization (WHO) for stemming the threat of noise-induced hearing loss.
The WHO campaign aims to encourage young people to practice
safe listening when they recreate, be that listening to personal audio
technology, attending concerts or sporting events, or engaging in other forms
More than 43 million people 12–35 years of age worldwide
live with disabling hearing loss from various causes, according to WHO. To keep
such numbers from increasing, the agency is launching Make Listening Safe
In a statement for the launch event at WHO headquarters in
Geneva, ASHA President Judith L. Page, PhD, CCC-SLP, said ASHA was honored to
have collaborated with WHO on the development of the new campaign and is
committed to spreading its safe listening messages.
"Giving a warning about a debilitating condition that forms
as insidiously as noise-induced hearing loss can be challenging," Dr. Page
noted, "yet delivery of this warning is demanded by the potential substantial
costs involved, individual and societal, in vital areas like academic performance,
employment opportunities, and social development and interaction."
In part, ASHA plans to share information about WHO's
campaign though a long-standing safe listening effort of its own, Listen To Your Buds. WHO considers ASHA's Buds campaign an effective outreach tool and
its awareness of the campaign prompted the global health agency to invite ASHA
to collaborate on Make Listening Safe.
Some of ASHA's efforts are expected to culminate in May,
Better Hearing and Speech Month in the United States. Current plans for May
include a safe-listening concert for children in Washington, DC, and the
release of a new national survey related to the topic of safe listening.
About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association
for 182,000 audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and
hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel;
and students. 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. www.asha.org/