It’s Still Rock and Roll Rock and roll never sounded like this before. At half its normal decibels, a show on April 11 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH was billed as the world’s quietest rock concert. Rather than being asked to rock out and “feel the noise,” attendees wore ... Features
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Features  |   July 01, 2005
It’s Still Rock and Roll
Author Notes
  • Dee Naquin Shafer, an assistant managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at dshafer@asha.org.
    Dee Naquin Shafer, an assistant managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at dshafer@asha.org.×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / ASHA News & Member Stories / Language Disorders / Features
Features   |   July 01, 2005
It’s Still Rock and Roll
The ASHA Leader, July 2005, Vol. 10, 4-13. doi:10.1044/leader.FTR2.10092005.4
The ASHA Leader, July 2005, Vol. 10, 4-13. doi:10.1044/leader.FTR2.10092005.4
Rock and roll never sounded like this before. At half its normal decibels, a show on April 11 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH was billed as the world’s quietest rock concert. Rather than being asked to rock out and “feel the noise,” attendees wore miniature radio receivers to hear unamplified music. They wore earplugs attached to a radio receiver about the size of a cell phone and tuned to a special frequency.
The performing band, Eagles of Death Metal, played two songs without amplification, and with digital drums. ASHA staff on hand measured the first half of the concert at 62 dB. The band followed with three amplified songs on speakers, as it normally performs. The second half reached 124 dB, comparable to the noise of a jet engine, or perhaps to a concert by that 1980s band Quiet Riot.
It was part of Energizer’s “It’s Hip to Hear™” program, in which ASHA participated as an advisor. The St. Louis-based company started a hearing loss education campaign a year ago and planned the quiet concert to help persuade people to seek professional help for hearing problems. The program promotes education to baby boomers and others about the importance of hearing loss prevention and treatment. The battery maker, however, has no plans to market rock concert receivers. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member and Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood introduced the show. Fleetwood, 57, has partial hearing loss caused by years of playing in a rock band. He knows the hazard that noise, including music, can pose to hearing, he said. He pointed out that musicians aren’t the only ones affected, as millions of baby boomers have experienced some form of damage too.
A Looming Problem
According to an Energizer survey, more than 16 million boomers have some degree of hearing loss. Yet, only 1% of this group cited hearing loss as a health concern.
“As a hearing health professional, I witness how detrimental hearing loss is to individuals and their families,” said Pam Mason, ASHA’s director of audiology professional practices. “People need to ‘tune in’ to this health issue with preventive practices. Energizer’s ‘It’s Hip to Hear’ campaign makes the issue of hearing loss relevant by appealing to the boomer generation’s love of music and technology.”
In addition to Mason, Vic Gladstone, ASHA’s chief staff officer for audiology, and Stephanie Davis, vice president for academic affairs, represented the Association. The three served as a panel of audiology judges during the concert to calibrate the noise level.
ASHA’s involvement with Energizer dates to 2004 when discussions began about how to help audiologists better serve clients and led to the company becoming one of ASHA’s “corporate sponsors.” As a sponsor, Energizer provides funding for programs and services for ASHA members-such as support of educational sessions at the 2004 and 2005 ASHA Conventions, support of the 2005 audiology conference, and complimentary educational brochures for audiology clients.
Energizer unveiled two exhibits at the Rock Hall to educate visitors about music, technology, and hearing. The exhibits, “Sound Check,” an interactive kiosk, and “Listen to the Music: Rock and Roll and the Evolution of Audio Technology,” will be open for a year. In addition to the museum exhibits, the program features an “It’s Hip to Hear” Survival Guide with information on everyday lifestyle changes that can help prevent hearing loss. The brochure is available free of charge on Energizer’s Web site, at the Museum, and in audiologists’ offices.
Can You Understand Me Now?

The “Hip to Hear” Sound Check exhibit is an interactive kiosk that allows visitors to guess the lyrics of long misunderstood songs. Titles include such songs as “Little Red Corvette” (Prince), “Stairway to Heaven” (Led Zeppelin), and “Hotel California” (The Eagles). Surprisingly, the list of 43 titles does not include “Louie, Louie” (The Kingsmen), surely one of the most unintelligible songs ever.

The Sound Check exhibit allows participants to link up with ASHA’s Professional Services or ProSearch database, a free referral service. Consumers can connect with certified audiologists or speech-language pathologists near their homes. Nearly 40,000 consumers contact ASHA annually requesting information about communication disorders. Audiologists and SLPs can sign up with ProSearch—free.

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FROM THIS ISSUE
July 2005
Volume 10, Issue 9