Turn It to the Left
What Is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss, or NIHL?
Although hearing problems are most commonly associated with aging, more than five million young people in the United States between the ages of six and 19 report some degree of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
Noise-induced hearing loss is a major public health concern. It occurs when people are exposed to sounds that are too loud, or loud sounds which last a long time—either of which can damage the hair cells in our inner ear, causing NIHL. These hair cells are important for hearing, because they convert sound into electrical signals that travel to the brain. Once damaged, hair cells cannot grow back. The hearing loss is permanent.
The American Academy of Audiology’s Response to NIHL
In response to the increasing prevalence of NIHL in children, the American Academy of Audiology launched a public education campaign called Turn It to the Left. The goal of this campaign is to raise public awareness about the risks of NIHL, while also educating kids, parents and teachers on how to prevent it.
Turn It to the Left is also the name of an educational rap created for the Academy by rapper Ben Jackson of Rhythm, Rhyme, Results. The rap urges kids to be aware of the noise around them and take control of the volume by “Turning It to the Left.”
About the Rap
Recognizing that the risk of permanent hearing loss from noise exposure is very real for individuals of all ages, the American Academy of Audiology has undertaken a campaign to raise public awareness about the dangers of exposure to high-level sound and to raise funds in support of noise-induced hearing loss research.
Listen to the Rap
The rap's "hook" urges all to take the volume control and "turn it to the left."
The American Academy of Audiology's Position Statement on Preventing Noise-Induced Occupational Hearing Loss
Visit the Dangerous Decibels web site to learn about their efforts to significantly reduce the prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ear) through exhibits, educational outreach, and research.
- Review the Academy's Fact Sheet on Noise in the Work Place
- Worksheet (PDF)
Fun Facts (PDF)