Rockville, Md — While hearing conservation programs exist for upper elementary children, ASHA member Karen McNealy, an associate professor of Communication Disorders at Marshall University, and her research team set out to find if first graders were able to grasp and retain the concept that noise can hurt their hearing and what steps they can take if they are exposed to loud noise. Their findings were recently presented during American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) convention, recently held in Philadelphia.

"In 2009 the Center for Disease Control reported that approximately 52 million children and adolescents (ages 6-19) have permanent hearing loss due to excessive exposure to noise," McNealy said in a press statement. "Introducing the concept of protecting one’s hearing to children as soon as possible will hopefully instill good listening habits as they grow up and we will see a decline in noise-induced hearing loss among our young people."

Results showed that first graders were able to identify sounds in their environment that could hurt their hearing and were able to implement strategies to avoid loud noise. A month after the initial test, results showed that most students retained the information.

The results, says ASHA, reinforce its “Listen To Your Buds” campaign (, which teaches first and second graders how to protect their hearing from misuse of personal audio devices.

SOURCE: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association