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Local Schools Urge Children To Turn The Volume Down

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Award-winning children's musician Billy Jonas treated Patrick Henry Elementary students to a sing-along concert with "safe listening" as the theme.
Jonathan Wilson
Award-winning children's musician Billy Jonas treated Patrick Henry Elementary students to a sing-along concert with "safe listening" as the theme.

By Jonathan Wilson

Several schools in Maryland, D.C. and Northern Virginia have dedicated this week to teaching children the importance of protecting their hearing.

There's something a little ironic about a musician telling children to turn down the volume in their headphones.

But award-winning children's artist Billy Jonas doesn't see it that way.

He treated students at Patrick Henry Elementary in Arlington, Virginia to an hour long concert, with "safe listening" as a theme.

"This is about enjoying music at reasonable volumes but for the rest of your life," says Jonas.

The American Speech-Language Hearing Association, or ASHA, sponsored the performance.

ASHA audiologists say noises and music louder than 85 decibels can damage hearing, but few portable music devices come with decibel meters.

They say a good rule of thumb is never to listen to your music player at more than half its maximum volume.

Patrick Henry fifth-grader Kiernan Bartlett says she listens to her iPod all the time, sometimes at a volume loud enough for her little brother to get annoyed. So will she turn it down?

"I don't know," says Bartlett. "I personally don't think I listen to it too loud, but I guess I will. I don't know."

It may be all in the ear of the beholder for students like Bartlett.

But the American Academy of Audiology says more than 5 million children suffer from noise-induced hearing loss.

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