10-7-13 11:30 AM EDT | Email Article

Public health experts, school nurses, teachers, students, audiologists, industrial hygienists and media from around the world will convene in St. Paul, Minn., Oct. 15-18 for the Innovations in Noise-Induced Hearing Loss and Tinnitus Prevention in Kids, a weeklong series of educational events hosted by 3M and Dangerous Decibels. The series features a two-day Innovations Conference, an educators’ training workshop, and a free public event aimed at helping kids and their parents understand the sound levels that can cause permanent hearing loss and the strategies needed to help prevent it.

Kicking off the series Oct. 15 and 16 is the Innovations Conference, which will cover current trends and innovation in noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus prevention in children. Fifteen experts, representing the American Academy of Audiology, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the Boston Children’s Hospital and many other leading institutions, will discuss state-of-the-art interventions and methodologies for effective hearing-loss prevention. Topics range from the “Joy of Hearing” and “Endangered Ears” to “Noise Hazards from Musical Equipment: Concerts, Cars, Cans and Kids.”

A free, public event on Oct. 16 – “How loud is your music?” – aims to raise awareness of the sound levels and durations that can cause permanent hearing loss when listening to music. The event features 20 teams from Minnesota and across the U.S., who will each build a “Jolene.” Jolene is a mannequin that measures sound levels of music devices. Parents and children can watch teams create the mannequins, have their personal music players tested, and learn more about how loud music effects hearing and earphone choices. The event is open to all ages. Attendees are encouraged to stop in anytime between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m., and bring their iPods, MP3 players and other personal music players.

“Recent studies indicate that 90 percent of 12 to19 year olds listen to music through earphones and that nearly 30 percent are at risk for hearing loss due to the levels at which they are listening,” said William Martin, Ph.D., Oregon Health & Science University. “Our concern is that the vast majority of users have no idea what sound levels and durations are safe or dangerous to their ears.”

“Repeated exposure to loud sounds, greater than 85 dBA, can cause permanent hearing loss and tinnitus,” said Division Scientist Elliott Berger, 3M. “Our goal is that through educational, hands-on activity, we can teach our youth about the impacts that listening to loud music can have on their long-term hearing.”

To complete the series, a two-day workshop on Oct. 17 and 18 will train individuals interested in hearing education on how to present a 50-minute program proven to improve knowledge, attitudes and intended behaviors in youth when it comes to their hearing health. Participants receive a complete educator kit with graphics, simulations, supplies, a sound-level meter and a script needed to present the classroom program.

To register or learn more about any of the individual events or the complete series, visit http://www.dangerousdecibels.org.

About 3M
3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products. Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M is the innovation company that never stops inventing. With $30 billion in sales, 3M employs 88,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit www.3M.com or follow @3MNews on Twitter.

About 3M Personal Safety Division
3M offers a comprehensive, diverse portfolio of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) solutions providing respiratory protection, hearing protection, fall protection, reflective materials for high visibility apparel, protective clothing, protective eyewear, head and face protection, welding helmets and other adjacent products and solutions, such as tactical safety equipment, detection, monitoring equipment, active communications equipment and compliance management. In 2012, 3M celebrated 40 years of occupational health and safety leadership – recognizing the company’s respiratory and hearing protection solutions introduced in 1972. Visit www.3M.com/PPESafety or http://m.3m.com/PPESafety. You can also follow 3M’s Personal Safety Division on Twitter at https://twitter.com/3MSafetyUS.

About Dangerous Decibels
The Dangerous Decibels project is a public health campaign designed to reduce the incidence and prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and tinnitus (ringing in the ear) by changing knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of school-aged children. www.dangerousdecibels.org

The project is built upon an innovative collaboration between basic science researchers, clinicians, museum educators, health communication experts, civic leaders, teachers, public health professionals and volunteers in a unique public/private partnership. Current partners are the Oregon Health & Science University, Portland State University and University of Northern Colorado.

3M is a trademark of 3M Company.

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