It’s May and the (Ear) “Buds” Are Here! The “Buds”- two cartoon ear-bud characters designed to appeal to children-are available free on bookmarks, banners, and screensavers for members to use in outreach activities for Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM). ASHA’s latest public awareness effort-with a theme of “Listen to Your Buds”-seeks to help children from 5 to ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   May 01, 2006
It’s May and the (Ear) “Buds” Are Here!
Author Notes
  • Mona Thomas, is a public relations manager. Contact her at mthomas@asha.org.
    Mona Thomas, is a public relations manager. Contact her at mthomas@asha.org.×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / School-Based Settings / ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   May 01, 2006
It’s May and the (Ear) “Buds” Are Here!
The ASHA Leader, May 2006, Vol. 11, 1-33. doi:10.1044/leader.AN.11062006.1
The ASHA Leader, May 2006, Vol. 11, 1-33. doi:10.1044/leader.AN.11062006.1
The “Buds”- two cartoon ear-bud characters designed to appeal to children-are available free on bookmarks, banners, and screensavers for members to use in outreach activities for Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM). ASHA’s latest public awareness effort-with a theme of “Listen to Your Buds”-seeks to help children from 5 to 10 years of age learn how to listen safely to popular technology that they plug into their ears. This effort is part of a larger public relations campaign to draw attention to the problem of hearing loss among youth who use MP3 players and other personal sound systems.
The “Buds” materials for children, which include simple guidelines, will serve audiologists and speech-language pathologists as a playful but effective way to convey tips on hearing safety. This is the latest phase in ASHA’s consumer awareness campaign that began in December and which has garnered national and international media attention. At least 100 million viewers, listeners, and readers have seen, heard, or read ASHA stories about the risk of hearing loss from unsafe use of popular technology.
Stories appeared in a wide array of media outlets-CNN Headline News, Telemundo, National Public Radio, USA Today, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Associated Press and other wire services, as well as more than 800 broadcast stories in 150 of the biggest TV news markets in the country. Channel One, an educational broadcast network reaching seven million students, covered the story. Other children’s media, such as Disney Radio, Scholastic News, and TIME for Kids.com did so as well. Internationally, stories have appeared in Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Turkey, and Australia.
The intense publicity generated by this ASHA campaign has also had an impact in the corporate world. Apple Inc. introduced software to limit decibel levels in iPods, and media reports linked ASHA’s outreach to the company’s decision. Brenda Lonsbury-Martin, a hearing scientist and ASHA’s chief staff officer for science and research, termed Apple’s move “a step in the right direction” but noted that ASHA continues to pursue public education as the long-term answer to the risk of hearing loss posed by the technology.
And that’s where the “Buds” come in. The materials using cartoon ear-bud characters seek to reach children at a younger age to help them develop positive attitudes about healthy listening habits. Also, as research on children with minimal hearing loss has shown, younger children have the most to lose if they end up with a noise-induced hearing loss. Audiologists and SLPs understand more than most that speech, language, and hearing are key to academic and social success. The more than 40,000 school-based ASHA members are ideally located to reach out to young children.
“Buds” materials-to use during Better Hearing and Speech Month or anytime-can be downloaded from ASHA’s Listen to Your Buds Web site. Free posters (up to 10) are available (charges for shipping and handling). Call the Action Center at 800-498-2071.
If you hold an event or make a presentation, don’t forget to notify your local media in advance. Reporters could interview you as well as teenagers at a local high school and their parents. Often media like to highlight how people locally are experiencing what is happening in other parts of the country.
For message points related to the use of popular technology and hearing loss, or other public relations assistance during May, please e-mail public relations staff at pr@asha.org.
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May 2006
Volume 11, Issue 6