UNT audiology program aims to protect high school musicians’ hearing

The project, titled “Music and Hearing Conservation,” is geared toward area band and orchestra students.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Dr. Amanda Labue, Senior Lecturer and Clinical Supervisor in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service (HPS) Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, and doctoral student Lauren Davis have developed a presentation that covers the following topics:

  • General overview of the profession of audiology
  • Facts about noise exposure and potential hearing damage that can be caused by repeated exposure to musical instruments
  • Ways to help prevent or slow hearing damage by using proper ear protection including custom fitted Musician’s Ear Plugs (MEPs)

They have been visiting North Texas high schools to share the information in hopes of preventing hearing loss in young musicians.

“I hope that the students we are targeting will understand that the gift of hearing is precious and cannot be mended or repaired once lost,” Dr. Labue said. “The presentations cover topics that help to educate them not only on the importance of using these protective devices during band or orchestra practice/performance, but we also cover healthy hearing practices in their everyday routine. AirPod use, car stereos, lawn equipment, fire arms, even daily dining in the school cafeteria can all add up over time to cause hearing problems later in life.”

Dr. Labue says she, Davis and others in the UNT Speech and Hearing Clinic work with many students from the UNT College of Music programs, and when completing their hearing tests prior to doing the Musician’s Earplug Evaluations, they find that even the college-aged students are showing early warning signs of hearing damage.

“So, we thought that educating and getting the idea of hearing protective devices on the radar of students even younger might help minimize some of this damage that they are potentially causing during their time in high school band and orchestra,” Labue said.

Dr. Labue and Davis have worked with high school band and orchestra students in Lewisville, Grapevine/Colleyville, Hurst/Euless/Bedford, Fort Worth and Allen ISDs, but they hope to eventually expand it to other programs, including middle schools.

For more information, email Dr. Labue at Amanda.Labue@unt.edu.