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Play It Down

6.5 million. That's how many children younger than 19 who have noise-induced hearing loss, according to a 2010 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That means one in five teens.

The survey showed that, between 1988-1994 and 2005-2006, the percentage of teens with hearing loss jumped about a third, from 15 percent of 12-19 year olds to 19.5 percent.

According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, excessive noise is the most common cause of hearing loss, and earbuds can magnify the risk of permanent and progressive hearing damage in teens.

Hearing loss can be prevented with small changes in behavior.

We know how hard it can be to change a teenager’s behavior. We’re not suggesting that they, or you, shouldn’t go to a concert or listen to loud music. Just do it in moderation. Take frequent breaks and listen to music at a 60% level. Try noise-reducing ear buds and use earplugs if you know you’ll be exposed to loud noises for an extended period of time.

“Teens are a decidedly hard demographic to educate about health-related matters,” said Sharon Wheeler, director of advancement services for the Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation. “By reaching out to teens in their plugged-in environment of apps, movies, television and radio, we plan to reach a broader, national audience and really make a difference in changing teens’ listening habits.”

Once hearing is lost, it can’t be restored.

Learn more about hearing loss with Play It Down at or

You can download the free app which has three interactive components: the Ear Knob, a hearing test that determines how old your hearing is; the Volume Zone, which measures sound in your environment; and Auto-Old My Music, a simulation of what happens when young ears are exposed to loud sounds for too long.

“We have had a great time with this campaign,” said Megan Morris, marketing specialist with Baptist Memorial Health Care. “We’ve seen the Ear Knob test users shocked at how bad-or good-their hearing is compared to their peers.”

Play It Down is a community project from the Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation to reduce the hearing loss rate in American teens.

Related Links
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation
Play It Down
Posted: 8/9/2011 4:08:23 PM | with 0 comments

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The latest news from the Greater Memphis Chamber. For more information, contact Director of Communications Christina Meek at (901) 543-3504 ( or Communications Specialist Jenny C. Fish at (901) 543-3558 (


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