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Schools Need Hearing Conservation Programs, Experts Warn

Rockville, MD -November 10, 2004 - Noise-induced hearing loss among children is increasing and children are frequently exposed to excessive levels of sound. Listening to a personal stereo system, television that is too loud, using power tools, riding motorcycles, and using real or toy firearms contribute to noise-induced hearing loss, according to research. Those studies and techniques for teaching the danger of loud noise as well as the importance of hearing protection will be addressed in a session during the American Speech-Language-Hearing Associations (ASHA) annual convention at the Philadelphia Convention Center November 18-20, 2004.

Because of this alarming trend, experts recommend hearing conservation education programs receive the same attention and resources as those given to anti-smoking, anti-drug, teen pregnancy, and sexually transmitted disease education programs. Noting that high-frequency hearing losses are greater in the upper grades, experts also advise that educational programming begin in the elementary grades to provide students with the proper information about hearing and hearing loss, and about ways to prevent hearing loss at home, in school (e.g., industrial art classes or band), and at social or recreational events.

Presenters also will cover the elements of an effective hearing conservation education program, available resources for hearing conservation instruction in the classroom, and studies undertaken to measure program effectiveness.

The session Teaching Children About Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention; Dangerous Decibels' will be held on Saturday, November 20, 2004, 1:00 4:00 p.m. in the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. Additional co-sponsors of this session are the National Hearing Conservation Association, Dangerous Decibels, a public health partnership for prevention of noise-induced hearing loss, and the Marion Downs Hearing Center.

It is one of more than 1,500 sessions on communication problems affecting people across the life span that will be addressed at ASHAs annual convention. More than 12,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and researchers will convene to present new research and discuss treatment of communication disorders.

ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 115,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems including swallowing disorders.

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