The UKHCA have 5 special interest groups to focus attention on raising awareness and influencing groups who we feel are at most risk and would benefit from advice and steer in hearing health care. One specific group we are aiming to influence is young people who are particularly vulnerable due to long periods of unprotected listening to personal music players – and who have little to no education on the impact this is having on their hearing and mental health.
The UKHCA, with support from its members, Starkey and Cluistrom put together a Protect your ears for life! school enterprise day which was hosted by a construction Joint Venture known as Fusion through their community engagement programme. The event provided the opportunity to influence 180 year 9 students, between 13 and 14 years old, about sound, noise and hearing and improving awareness of dangerous noise. The event also allowed us the opportunity to educate these young people on how best to protect your hearing – now as in influencing their listening habits and for the future to think about noise when in the workplace.
If you are interested in hosting or arranging one of our Protect your ears for life! school enterprise days contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The ‘Protect your ears for life!’ school enterprise day ran for two hours; We started off with an explanation of how the ears work, what noise is and how to recognise dangerous noise levels.
We then split into a number of workshops; “Play your cards right”, where students were given pictures of various noisy things, including a crying baby, a vacuum and a pneumatic drill, and had to put them in order of which produced the most decibels of noise.
Another activity explored listening and hearing; like Chinese whispers, in order to understand what it was like to have a hearing impairment. The students wore a pair of headphones which reduced their hearing, while trying to repeat back what another student was saying to them. In another activity they were asked to explore noise reduction solutions by using materials provided such as bubble wrap, polystyrene boxes and a noise level meter to reduce emission levels from a radio.
The final activity involved the students placing their headphones on “Eddie”- the hearing dummy and were asked to play music at their normal volume, to understand the sound levels, and showing them how long they can listen safely for – which brought some surprises for the students and an increased awareness of the damage they were causing!
Students spent around 25 minutes on each activity and after this they came back together and fed back as a group. We finished the session by talking about what noise means in construction: the numbers affected, the scale of the problem, and then the best ways to enjoy sound safely.
We received excellent feedback from the school, with one staff member saying that this was the best Enterprise Challenge they’d seen at the school. Fusion were so impressed they will now be adding this activity to their school engagement offerings as an ongoing collaboration with the UKHCA.
This was a great opportunity to raise awareness of an important public and occupational health issues which affects health, wellbeing and the wider economy!