Grammy-nominated artist and philanthropist Aloe Blacc traveled to his hometown of Orange County, Calif., yesterday to play a private concert at the high school of the winners of Starkey Hearing Foundation’s Listen Carefully video contest.
In November, Listen Carefully, an educational program to raise awareness about the increase of noise-induced hearing loss, launched a national contest challenging middle school and high school students (ages 13-18) to create public service announcements (PSAs) about the dangers of high-volume sounds. Recently released data from the World Health Organization lists that 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk for hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices.
The contest was created in response to data showing that noise-induced hearing loss, which currently affects 1 in 6 American teens, increased 30 percent in teens over the past decade. Ken Nakama, Dan Lesser and Joshua Maslaki from Woodbridge High School in Irvine, California, won the popular vote with “Protect Your Ears”. From Crean Lutheran, Jenny Kim, Matthew Orgil and Tyler Koski took second place with “The Meaning of Sound”, while “Effects” by Thomas Le from Rutherford High School in Panama City, FL placed third.
All three teams attended the show and were recognized by Steven Sawalich, the Senior Director of Global Media and Philanthropy at Starkey Hearing Technologies and Chris and Kyle Massey, the boisterous brother duo who MC’d the show. Caroline Sunshine, a long-time Starkey Hearing Foundation supporter, who has partial hearing loss due to a medical condition, met with the winning teams prior to the show to encourage them to keep spreading the news about the dangers associated with high-volume sounds.
While on stage singing some of his biggest hits like “The Man” and “Wake Me Up”, Aloe encouraged students to use the hearing protection. “Whether I am in the studio or performing on stage, my hearing is critical to my success as an artist,” said Aloe Blacc. “Not only does my ability to hear help me have a better technical performance, but hearing the audience sing along to the music helps elevate the energy of the show, ” he continued. Each of the students and teachers in attendance received reusable hearing protection as they entered the venue.
“While often preventable, noise-induced hearing loss is permanent,” said Tani Austin, Co-Founder of Starkey Hearing Foundation. “The success of this contest and continued support from artists like Aloe Blacc will help us educate kids and young adults on the importance of hearing protection and risks associated with exposure to loud sounds”.
About Listen Carefully:
Listen Carefully is Starkey Hearing Foundation’s domestic initiative to raise awareness about noise-induced hearing loss and help prevent a hearing loss epidemic. Today, 1 in 6 American teens has permanent hearing loss due to high-volume sounds. Football games, concerts, music players, and hairdryers can damage kids’ hearing in a matter of seconds. Noise-induced hearing loss is permanent, but preventable. For more information, visit Listen Carefully online at listencarefully.org, via Facebook at facebook.com/listencarefully, Twitter.com/listencarefully, or Instagram.com/listencarefully_org.
About Starkey Hearing Foundation:
Starkey Hearing Foundation uses hearing as a vehicle to reflect caring and change lives around the world. Disabling hearing loss affects more than 360 million people, including 32 million children, worldwide, yet many do not have access to the hearing devices that can help them. Starkey Hearing Foundation fits and gives more than 100,000 hearing aids annually, and as a member of President Clinton’s Global Initiative, it has pledged to fit one million hearing aids this decade. Last year alone they provided over 175,000 hearing aids for free to men, women and children in need.
In addition to giving the gift of hearing through worldwide hearing missions, Starkey Hearing Foundation promotes hearing health awareness and education through the Listen Carefully campaign and provides hearing instruments to low-income Americans through the Hear Now program. For more information on Starkey Hearing Foundation, visit http://www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org.