May 17, 2007

The Starkey Hearing Foundation announced its "Don’t Say What?" hearing loss prevention campaign in May for Better Hearing Month. Starkey is partnering with three-time Grammy winner Trisha Yearwood and audiologist Gyl Kasewurm, AuD, FAAA, to spread the message designed to educate consumers hearing protection.

Through the "Don’t Say What?" program Starkey Hearing Foundation aims to raise consumer awareness of the effects of the misuse of popular electronic devices, such as MP3 players, Bluetooth headsets and cell phones.

The campaign will also address how live noise, such as amplified music at concerts and loud machinery used for road work, can impair hearing.

"Hearing is such a critical part of being a musician," Yearwood said. "I’ve seen so many great artists struggle with hearing loss that I had to be part of bringing this issue into the spotlight. No one should have to struggle to hear." Yearwood will appear in the "Don’t Say What?" a regional advertising and public service announcement campaign in USA Today throughout the month of May. She and Kasewurm will serve as media spokespeople.

"People are losing their hearing two-and-a-half times faster than their parents and grandparents, due largely to sustained overexposure to loud sound," Kasewurm says. "And in another 40 years, nearly 50 million people in the U.S. could be hearing impaired. Those numbers are just unacceptable, especially when this type of hearing loss is largely preventable. "People simply aren’t listening to audiologists when we tell them that they get one set of ears and they better protect them! That’s why this campaign is so important."

"The heart of our message is really, if after someone says something to you and your reaction is, ‘What?,’ you’re in a situation that is too loud," said Bill Austin, founder and CEO of Starkey Laboratories. "Auditory health is important for everybody because overexposure to sound has become so engrained into our culture. We sit in roaring crowds during sporting events and packed stadiums to see our favorite bands play."

The Starkey Hearing Foundation will continue its partnership with USA Today through a nationwide school program to offer information about the causes of hearing loss and steps consumers can take to protect their ears. The educational program will reach 30,000 elementary, middle and high school classrooms and 400 universities across the country.

In addition, the Starkey Hearing Foundation will partner with consumer electronics manufacturers and companies in the music, entertainment and sporting industries to bring the "Don’t Say What?" message directly to consumers.

For more information about the Foundation’s hearing awareness campaign, please visit