There was clapping and stomping and singing at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium during a recent concent, but not from a crowd of wowed college students. It was coming from more than 1,000 first- and second-graders from 14 public and private schools in the Washington Metro area who were there to join award-winning musical artist Billy Jonas and his band for an hour-long interactive concert about how to protect their hearing, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).
As Jonas and his band pounded out the beat and strummed the melody on instruments rigged out of reused household gadgets, kids made up their own lyrics to a song about how to protect their hearing now, so they don’t lose it later. Their song began with a simple tip — "if the music’s too loud you’ve got to turn it down," and ended with the reason why — "to protect your hearing so you’ll enjoy the sound," the agency says.
The concert was presented by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in collaboration with Parents’ Choice Foundation and the NIDCD, and media sponsor XMSirius Radio. The concert, which is part of ASHA’s "Listen to Your Buds" campaign, helped kick off Better Hearing and Speech Month, an event recognized each May by ASHA to raise awareness of, and promote treatment for, hearing and speech disorders.
"When we talk about hearing protection, we often talk about the dangerous sounds and we forget to celebrate the good sounds," says James F. Battey Jr, MD, PhD, director of the NIDCD. "Concerts are a fun, innovative way to bring the hearing protection message to our youth while celebrating sounds that everyone loves to hear."
Recently, ASHA became the first organization to join NIDCD’s It’s a Noisy Planet. Protect Their Hearing campaign, which encourages parents of tweens (children ages 8 to 12) to teach their children about noise-induced hearing loss and how to protect their hearing for life. You can listen to an ASHA podcast, featuring Battey as he discusses the causes of noise-induced hearing loss and what parents can do to protect their children’s hearing .
(Left) "All Together!" Award-winning recording artist Billy Jonas led the kids in an interactive sing-a-long with lyrics aimed at teaching them safe listening habits for lifelong healthy hearing.
(Right) "Turn It Down!" There was singing and cheering and glowstick waving as Billy Jonas and his band turned the kids’ own ideas into a catchy song about all the things they can do to protect their hearing.
(Photo credits: ASHA)