Challenge at Richardson school aims to raise awareness of hearing loss

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on May 3, 2013 at 5:07 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 4 at 3:34 AM

RICHARDSON –– Pulsing bass lines are just a part of listening to music through headphones. The hearing loss that comes after repeated high-volume listening sessions, however, is preventable. Which is why 20 students from Winfree Academy have earplugs stuffed in their ears. 

"It's like, muffled sound," said student Justino Kanany. 

Kanany and the others are taking a hearing challenge, sponsored by ClearSounds Communications. The teenagers wore earplugs all day, from the moment they got up to the just before bed, to simulate hearing loss.

"I'm bumping into people and I can't really tell what's around me or what I'm doing," said 16-year old Victoria Noah, "You rely on it so much and you don't realize when it's not there that you, you don't have something that you rely upon a lot."

According to the Journal of Pediatrics, more than one in 10 kids suffer from hearing loss from listening to music too loud in their earbuds.

Most don't realize the damage. That's the reason a company that specializes in products for the hearing impaired is conducting the experiment.

"We can teach the students how much they're losing their hearing when they put in all these music devices in their ears," says principal Madge Ennis. "They get to see how frustrating it is to have 33% of their hearing gone.  What it's like to be in the classroom and not really be able to hear their teacher.  And what it's like to not have music in their ears and not be able to hear it while they're working."

Experts say a good way to tell if music is too loud is if others who are not wearing earbuds can hear it. The hope is these young people will listen to the message and turn the volume down so the sounds of life don't get tuned out forever.

Email jstjames@wfaa.com

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