October is National Protect Your Hearing Month and National Audiology Awareness Month, a month where audiologists and organizations like the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) would like people to take time out of their day to learn about audiology and how they can prevent noise-related hearing loss in themselves and others. According to the NIDCD, this type of hearing loss is completely preventable and can be accomplished by methods such as lowering the volume while using electronic devices and wearing hearing protectors while you are in a noisy area.
Earlier this year University of Nebraska students from Emily Wakefield’s spring class edited articles on Hearing Conservation, making their contributions an appropriate topic for this month. The class’s largest contribution was to the article for earmuffs. While the term likely brings to mind images of something warm and fluffy to wear on your head once it starts turning cold, this word is also used to refer to earmuffs intended to protect one’s hearing. Another article that the students edited was earplug — another item that can be used to help prevent hearing loss, albeit by placing the plugs inside your ears as opposed to the external protection provided by earmuffs. Students added information on musicians’ earplugs, earplugs that help maintain the ear’s natural frequency response and can be worn in the studio and during a concert. As these are designed to protect the user from overexposure to loud music, they will not properly protect users from very high noise levels. Students also made heavy edits to the article for hearing conservation programs, adding information on employee training and education. For example, educating employees on the risks of high noise levels is not enough; employers must also motivate their workers to use proper precautions.
Wikipedia has a wealth of knowledge, but the site cannot grow without users contributing and correcting information to the site. Editing is a wonderful way to teach your students about technical writing, collaboration, and sourcing in a unique learning environment. If you are interested in using Wikipedia with your next class, please contact Wiki Education at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can gain access to tools, online trainings, and printed materials.
Image: 2017-03-22 40 Jahre Kulturzentrum Pavillon Hannover (188), by Bernd Schwabe, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
2 thoughts on “Roundup: Hearing Conservation”
Thank you for highlighting this issue! Hearing loss is a common condition that can have serious consequences in all aspects of life. It has been tagged as a one of the top-importance medicine articles and by several WikiProjects, including the WikiProject Occupational Safety and Health. The latter was created and is managed by one of the Wikipedians-in-Residence at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). I and other NIOSH researchers have contributed edits to Wikipedia and encouraged Universities to use of the WikiEdu platform. This resulted in several pages related to hearing loss prevention being expanded; see
https://dashboard.wikiedu.org/courses/NIOSH-CDC/Topics_in_Occupational_Safety_and_Health_(Summer) and https://dashboard.wikiedu.org/courses/University_of_Northern_Colorado/Hearing_Loss_Prevention_(Fall_Semester) (being offered again this semester).
It has been a fantastic and rewarding experience to work with this platform, one that we have shared in conferences in occupational health, audiology and acoustics. Keep up the good work!
Thank you for highlighting these classes! And thanks to you and the others for adding articles on hearing loss!