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MP3 Generation is Focus of Hearing Health Campaign Launched by House Ear Institute

Los Angeles - January 16, 2006 - The House Ear Institute today announces the official launch of an aggressive consumer awareness campaign aimed at teens and young adults. The campaign uses the theme "It's How You Listen That Counts" to warn young adults of the potential dangers to hearing posed by listening to loud sound. This age group, previously known as "the MTV Generation," is now frequently referred to as the "MP3 Generation" due to the soaring popularity of digital portable music players. Because this generation of consumers tends to play their music too loud for too long, they are particularly vulnerable to permanent noise-induced hearing loss and have become the target audience for the youth-oriented messages delivered by House Ear Institute.

Working from extensive market research carried out over several months, the Institute created advisory commercials designed to captivate teens and drive them to the campaign's Web site, www.EarBud.org for additional information on safe listening habits. The first phase of the 10-month "It's How You Listen That Counts" campaign launches in Arizona as a test market with commercial spots featured on MTV, www.MTV.com and five Yahoo! Web sites including www.YahooMusic.com.

The goal for phase one is to gather additional market research data and analyze which type of messaging truly impacts behavior in this age group, allowing the Institute to then confidently carry the message nationwide.

Over the past few years, the Institute, through its Sound Partners TM hearing conservation program, has educated tens of thousands of audio and music professionals about the importance of safe listening practices to a successful career in sound.

The Institute recognizes a growing need to expand its program beyond the sound industries to reach young consumer audiences, who typically crank up the volume, but generally are unaware of the serious risks that loud decibels (exceeding 85 dB) can pose to their hearing.

"This campaign is a vital step to discovering what it will take to reach teens and young adults with a message that motivates them to make smart listening choices to preserve their hearing while still appreciating great sound," said Marilee Potthoff, marketing director, House Ear Institute.

"Today, baby boomers who are struggling with hearing loss from the loud activities of their youth regret that they didn't know enough when they were young to protect their hearing from permanent damage. Our goal is to deliver the warning message to the next generation before it's too late."

About the House Ear Institute

The House Ear Institute (HEI) is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to advancing hearing science through research and education to improve quality of life. HEI scientists are exploring the causes of auditory disorders at the cellular and molecular level as well as the complex ear-brain interaction, and refining the application of auditory implants, diagnostic techniques and hearing aids. For more information please call (213) 483-4431 or visit the Web site at www.hei.org.

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