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Kids Help Other Kids to Protect Their Hearing from Personal Music Devices

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Martin wanted to create a similar device, and use it to study beliefs and practices regarding noise among young people in her Portland, Oregon hometown. She hoped it would help young people understand the dangers of loud sounds and to know the safe volumes for listening to music. She obtained a used mannequin, then mounted rubber, life-like ears on it, added some electronic components, and Jolene was born. Martin hopes Jolene will get people interested in the dangers of noise-induced hearing loss and spur them to protect their hearing.

Martin is not alone. Many other students will attend the Cincinnati conference to share their strategies for educating young people about the risks of loud noise. Among them will be members of what conference organizers call "the Michigan Seven," a group of middle-schoolers taught by civics teacher David Vermeulen at Montague Public Schools of Montague, Michigan. Consisting of students Julian Smith, Cheyne Rushing, Greg Harris, Alexys Race, Tara Reed, David Ahlstrom, and Brandon Kieft, the Seven won first prize in Michigan's statewide Project Citizen competition, in which they researched the risks of NIHL from personal music players, suggested preventative measures, and then pursued the solutions they determined to be most effective.

In their research, the Michigan Seven measured the decibel output of students' personal music players. Then, they gave these students charts which indicate potential hearing loss as related to length of time the music is played at that volume.

Their advocacy efforts included three steps: crafting public service announcements, designing warning labels on products, and calling for regulations to ensure the volume dials on all personal music players have an accompanying explanation in the owner's manual, which covers potential decibel output. They continue to contact officials regarding their suggestions for policy ch
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