Reston, VA – Feb. 12, 2010 - Audiologists everywhere cheered when Drew Brees, the quarterback of the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints, set an example for parents concerned about protecting their children’s hearing in loud environments, said Kris English, PhD, president of the American Academy of Audiology.
At the end of the Saints’ 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl 44 last weekend, Brees lifted his one-year-old son, Baylen, up in the air in celebration. Baylen was seen wearing a set of noise-reducing earphones in order to protect his young ears from the noise of the crowd in the stadium.
“Parents often believe when their child passes their newborn hearing screening at birth, that the child's hearing will be normal by the time he or she enters school,” English said. “However, it's so important to understand that 25 times more children will have hearing loss when they enter grade school than had hearing loss at birth! Children are exposed to high noise levels more than ever before. Noise-induced hearing loss is permanent and 100 percent preventable. Brees’ leadership in hearing protection helped bring that message home.”
Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by damage to the hair cells that are found in our inner ear. Hair cells are small sensory cells that convert the sounds we hear (sound energy) into electrical signals that travel to the brain. Once damaged, our hair cells cannot grow back, causing permanent hearing loss. Childhood noise risks include sporting events, loud toys, firecrackers and fireworks, and loud music from concerts or MP3 players.
The Academy has a new consumer Web site entitled “How’s Your Hearing? Ask an Audiologist” (http://www.howsyourhearing.org/) where visitors can learn more about hearing loss, what causes it, and how to prevent it, as well as what an audiologist is and where they can find the audiologist closest to them.