To raise awareness about noise-induced hearing loss, which affects 1 in 6 American teens, Listen Carefully, a program from Starkey Hearing Foundation, launched a national video contest. The contest challenged middle school and high school students (ages 13-18) to create a PSA educating their peers about the dangers of high volume sounds. Decided by popular vote, the winning video, titled “Protect Your Ears,” was created by Ken Nakama, Dan Lesser and Joshua Maslaki from Woodbridge High School in Irvine, CA. In addition to each winning a GoPro© Hero3+ camera, Grammy nominated Interscope recording artist and Orange County native Aloe Blacc will play a private concert at their school this spring.
Nakama, Lesser and Maslaki are all in the same film class, and decided to enter the contest to raise awareness, as well as to contribute to the public and their school. As film students, sound holds importance in the young men’s everyday life.
Lesser told us: “Sound is over 80% of what makes films impactful, [so] it’s extremely important to me and I have a huge appreciation for it.” Additionally, Lesser notes that sound is very important to him in being able to understand simple conversation, stating “communication is so important in forming relationships with people.”
Nakama, Lesser and Maslaki were inspired to create a PSA to portray an average teen situation to communicate that even an average situation can produce lasting effects. The video shows a student listening to music through headphones at a high volume in the school computer lab.
“We wanted to create something relatable to most teenagers nowadays in order to better communicate our message, which is why we used the computer lab at our school. Modern technology is a key source of hearing loss,” said Lesser.
The video, which took approximately 2 hours to film and 8 hours to edit, was completed in 22 hours.
When asked what teens can do to protect their hearing, Nakama told us: “Listening to loud music is inevitable at events, such as school dances or concerts. However, [teens] do have the ability to control the volume of the music they listen to. Teens can protect their hearing by simply lowering the volume on their iPod or TV.”
Life without hearing would be a lonely existence, which is why Listen Carefully is passionate about protecting the innate ability to connect with the world around us through our sense of hearing.
Maslaki, who knows people with hearing loss, says he “would miss the sound of everyone’s voices” most if he were to lose his hearing. Nakama says he “would probably miss the sound of laughter.”
To check out Nakama, Lesser and Maslaki’s winning video, click here: “Protect Your Ears”
To learn more about Listen Carefully, please visit their official website