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ASHA and NIDCD Join Forces on Protecting the Hearing of the Young

Safety Message Will Be Part Of Washington, DC Concert Featuring Billy Jonas

(Rockville, MD - March 4, 2009) Encouraging children to protect their hearing from noise is the objective of a new joint effort between The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), one of the National Institutes of Health.

Both organizations have national campaigns that address the young and the risk of noise-induced hearing loss, an important health concern. Aimed at very young children, parents, and educators, ASHA's "Listen To Your Buds" campaign features a concert series; a national coalition of Parents' Choice Foundation award-winning musicians who specialize in children's music; and an interactive bilingual Web site with educational games for kids and resources for parents and teachers, all for the purpose of instilling in the very young healthy hearing listening habits when using personal audio technology.

A complementary campaign by NIDCD, "It's a Noisy Planet. Protect Their Hearing." encourages parents of ‘tweens (children ages 8 to 12) to teach their children how to adopt healthy habits that will help protect their hearing for life.

The next ASHA Listen To Your Buds concert will be held April 29 at The George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC.

It will be free and for local first- and second-graders. Billy Jonas will perform. The New York Times rated his video Bangin' and Sangin' a "Best" pick. The Los Angeles Times says, "[his] easy-going interaction ... reaches out to young listeners. He's a find." Grammy-award winner Alison Krauss says, "Billy Jonas' talent, wit and obvious love for children and learning make him and his music irresistible. Whenever I see him perform, my face hurts from smiling." The concert, which promises to involve children in the music-making, will also kickoff Better Hearing and Speech Month, which is held annually in May.

ASHA is working in collaboration with Parents' Choice Foundation on both its Buds concerts and the formation of a national coalition of musicians popular with children who pledge to promote ASHA's safe listening message. Coalition members are found at parents-choice.org/budsconcert.cfm.

Meanwhile, the ASHA and NIDCD collaboration will include as well as go beyond the concert series. Both organizations will utilize their respective resources to disseminate educational information, tools, programs, and materials for target audiences.

These opportunities will include collaborating on specialized educational materials for consumers and health care professionals and co-producing and/or promoting noise-induced hearing loss prevention activities, events, and materials, plus other joint efforts.

"The collaboration between ASHA and NIDCD will only further our outreach efforts to accomplish the same goal-to educate children on the dangers of noise-induced hearing loss," according to ASHA President Sue Hale. "I am excited by our relationship with NIDCD and know it will better reach children of all ages and teach them healthy hearing habits that will last their lifetimes."

"Every day, kids take part in a variety of activities that may put their hearing at risk-many times without even realizing it," adds NIDCD Director James F. Battey, Jr., M.D., Ph.D. "Through this new partnership, NIDCD and ASHA will bring this important prevention message to young ears in hopes that it will become second nature for them to use protective hearing techniques when they're exposed to loud noise."

ASHA is planning additional Listen To Your Buds concerts for the second half of the year in major cities besides Washington. Details about them will be shared as they become available.

About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 130,000 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. 

About the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

The NIDCD supports and conducts research and research training on the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech, and language and provides health information, based upon scientific discovery, to the public. 

About the National Institutes of Health

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)-the Nation's Medical Research Agency-includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. 

About Parents' Choice Foundation

Established in 1978, Parents' Choice Foundation is the nation's oldest nonprofit guide to quality children's media and toys. The Parents' Choice Awards program is the premier mark of distinction in the fields of children's media. www.parents-choice.org/.

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