June 11, 2007

In May, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) of Arlington, Va, agreed to work together to further develop and promote www.listentoyourbuds.org, an ASHA-created online resource designed for educating young children, parents, and educators about the potential risk of hearing loss from unsafe usage of personal audio technology.

ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 127,000 speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and speech and hearing scientists. CEA is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the consumer technology industry through technology policy, events, research, promotion, and the fostering of business and strategic relationships.

“We are very grateful for and welcoming of this opportunity to work with CEA in disseminating our vital message about the importance of safe usage of personal audio technology,” says ASHA President Noma Anderson. “With May being Better Hearing and Speech Month, the timing couldn’t be better for this announcement that we are joining forces.”

“CEA’s goal is to keep consumers listening for a lifetime. Once consumers understand the potential risks associated with improper use of personal audio devices, then protecting their hearing is easy,” says CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. “We’re pleased to support ASHA on this important public education campaign.”

Under the agreement, ASHA will receive financial and in-kind support from CEA to further develop and promote www.listentoyourbuds.org. The development will likely take the form of periodic refreshing of features of the Web site, which has an interactive game children can play while they learn about safe listening. Meanwhile, much of the promotion of the site is expected to be through on-line educational interactive sites such as whyville.net, which attracts hundreds of thousands of young children.

The ASHA-CEA announcement is the latest news about “America: Tuned in Today … But Tuned Out Tomorrow?” an ASHA public education campaign that focuses on the potential risk of hearing loss from unsafe usage of personal audio technology.

Since December 2005, the campaign has led raising public awareness about the issue. Earlier this month, it was promoted on the Times Square message board in New York City. In addition, the campaign has drawn global media coverage, commissioned the first ever national polling on usage habits of current personal audio-technology, made cross-cultural minority outreach a focus of its activities, and appealed to a variety of ages through nationally disseminated broadcast PSAs and tools like the kid-friendly “Buds” Web site.

Campaign materials are cited by NIH and the CDC in public presentations. Recently, the American Society of Association Executives gave ASHA an Associations Move America Forward award for America Tuned In …  Also, Pause Parent Play, a Washington-based campaign designed to empower parents to choose what their kids watch, hear, and play—from TV and movies to video games and music—has highlighted the campaign to its members. And the rock group O.A.R. has become a supporter of ASHA’s campaign. The band will make PSAs for dissemination later this year.

“We look forward to working with CEA in the coming months,” says Anderson. “It will be exciting to work together on a public education effort of such importance.”

SOURCE:  American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (www.asha.org)