‘Hear No Evil’ promotes hearing protection with music

‘Hear No Evil’ promotes hearing protection with music

By Drew Bonifant

A three-hour concert to raise awareness for ear conservation and protection may seem a bit contradictory, but the Northeastern chapter of the National Association of Future Doctors of Audiology (NAFDA) went against conventional wisdom.

“Hear No Evil,” was held in afterHOURS Feb. 26 and the group used the show to raise awareness of the dangers of hearing loss from loud music, and as a fund-raising opportunity. The bands Scholar, Bridget and the Squares and The Motion Sick performed. While the loud and rollicking tunes could initially appear to be counter effective, organizers said otherwise.

Michael Epstein, an assistant professor of audiology and the lead singer and guitarist for The Motion Sick, said organizing an event around music had clear advantages.

“NAFDA wanted to get involved in some sort of community outreach, and hearing conservation and protection is one of the important types of outreach,” he said. “And they thought, ‘what better way to reach people who are potentially exposing themselves to hazards than to put on a concert, because that’s where a lot of people are going to be putting themselves in a dangerous situation.'”

Dan Goscombe, the bass player for Scholar, said it was important to preserve hearing.

“I’ve been working in a rehearsal studio for two years, so it’s a big part of everything there,” he said. “Everyone plays way too loud, but that’s the rock ‘n’ roll way of life. You can’t play rock ‘n’ roll for 50 years because you’re going to lose your hearing, so it is a very important thing that you wear earplugs. Down the road, you could be hearing hums for the rest of your life.”

Part of the event focused on the dangers of iPods’ earbuds, and how users often turn the volume up to drown out outside noises, which may cause hearing loss.

At the event, NAFDA handed out fact sheets on noise-induced hearing loss, free earplugs and held a raffle, which included noise-canceling headphones as a prize.

“There’s a safe level, and then if you turn [the volume] all the way up for even a short period, it’ll cause damage,” said Rita Anelli, president of the Northeastern NAFDA chapter. “There’s nothing on your iPod that says you’ve listened to 80 percent of your daily dose.”

It appeared NAFDA’s message was heard. Before The Motion Sick took the stage, Epstein asked how many audience members were wearing earplugs. Almost everyone in the crowd raised a hand.

Goscombe said using a musical concert to promote their cause was more effective than other methods.

“To draw awareness to [hearing conservation] in a real-world environment, you can only preach to the choir so much,” he said. “You say ‘Wear earplugs, wear earplugs, wear earplugs’ this whole time, but if you don’t actually say ‘OK, here’s music, you should be wearing earplugs now,’ you don’t draw attention to the problem.”

Corey Turner, a sophomore business major, said the event was effective.

“I found [the reason for the concert] funny, because this is the cause of hearing problems,” he said. “It’s kind of ironic.”

Students at the event, like Jessie Cassada, a first-year graduate student concentrating in audiology, said they plan to execute safe hearing practices in the future.

“It’s a serious deal,” Cassada said. “The event brought my awareness to the point where I know I should wear earplugs at any concert. I would never have worn them before.”

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