Athens, Ga. – A team of University of Georgia speech-language pathology graduate students helped educate some 2,000 high school musicians, their families and band directors in a hearing-loss prevention promotion at Battle of the Bands held at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta last month.
The Battle of the Bands is a nationwide competition of high school marching drum and bugle corps.
UGA students Bridget Haley, Megan Muraski, Rachel Rigdon and Lauren Murphree, along with their professor, Holly Kaplan, an associate clinical professor in the College of Education’s department of communication sciences and special education, fit 115 pairs of Etymotic earplugs, which are designed to filter sound for musicians while reducing the volume to a safer level.
The students worked with Audiological Consultants of Atlanta, the Georgia Academy of Audiology, Etymotic Research, Georgia Lions Lighthouse, Georgia Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and undergraduate volunteers from the Georgia chapter of the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association to promote hearing-loss prevention.
The students also promoted the Adopt-A-Band program, in which a local audiologist adopts a marching band to encourage the use of earplugs and to provide education about noise-induced hearing loss. Dozens of bands’ contact information was collected to extend the program. Other services were provided, including a referral to the Georgia Lions Lighthouse for providing financial assistance to obtain hearing aids.