GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WUSA) -- Jam to music instead of sit in class? Yes, please! The students at Gaithersburg Elementary School mixed up their daily routine Thursday with a concert that was not only fun, but also educational.
The American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) teamed up with the National Institute of Health and presented the concert to Gaithersburg Elementary and five other area schools. This month is "Better Hearing and Speech" month, and their goal is to raise awareness among school kids about the danger of hearing loss from loud volumes on personal music players.
The "Listen To Your Buds" campaign aims to stop hearing damage before it starts. And with the use of personal music players on the rise-up nearly 60% among eight to 18-year-olds over the past five years, according to a recent study-there is ample reason for concern.
This concern prompted AHSA to take action. ASHA's president Tommie Robinson, Jr. believes the effort is necessary to help prevent hearing problems from developing later on in the kids' lives. The association brought the concert to area schools. The entertaining program focused its message on getting kids to turn volume levels down.
There are many reasons for schools to get involved as well. Hearing loss doesn't just interfere with a person's communication skills. It also affects learning, which can negatively impact students' academic success. And unlike other types of damage, hearing damage cannot be reversed.
Joseph Rowe, the vice principal of Gaithersburg Elementary wholeheartedly supported the concert. "(I want for them) the empowerment to say to their parents, to their brothers and sisters, 'I saw an assembly. That's not good for you. Turn it down,'" he said.
According to Anne Oyler, an ASHA audiologist, no matter what type of headset someone uses, the music can always be turned up too loud. A few basic rules of thumb for listening to music are:
-- Only listen to a device at half of its maximum volume.
-- Give your ears a break after an hour of listening.
-- Have a friend stand next to you while you listen to your music player. If he or she can hear you, your device is too loud.
-- Set volume levels on the device in a quiet room. That way, you won't be tempted to turn it up too loud when you're in a noisier environment.
-- Use noise cancelling headphones instead of earbuds to help you hear better at a lower volume.