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November 14, 2007

CODI presentation one of five highlighted at national convention

A ULM Department of Communicative Disorders presentation is one of five to be singled out for national attention at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention in Boston Nov. 15 – 17. The presentation was chosen because it will educate consumers on noise-induced hearing loss from toys.

Several CODI faculty will also present peer-reviewed research.

ASHA has selected “Noisy Toys: Children at Risk” as one of the five projects to be featured at the national meeting and granted national media exposure. About 12,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists and students are expected to attend the convention.

“Noisy Toys” will be presented on Friday, Nov. 16. Its authors are Judy Fellows, Helen Huckleberry, Norma Johnson, and graduate student Jillian Morgan. Only Johnson will not be present.

Fellows is glad that the serious issue of hearing conservation in children has merited important national attention. “The CODI faculty are delighted that our peer-reviewed research was accepted for presentation, and we are especially encouraged that the Noisy Toys project is being recognized due to its significant impact on consumers.”

ULM’s Speech and Hearing Clinic provided a valuable service to the public by conducting a free toy sound testing May 15, tying into Better Hearing and Speech Month. Though the subject is of much interest to professionals in the field, ULM led the initiative by inviting clients to bring in toys for testing. The result was a test group of 78—certainly one of the largest regional studies of its kind.

ULM faculty and students will present other valuable studies during the convention:

Associate Professor Linda Bryan authored “En Route to Spelling Proficiency: A Case Study.”

Assistant Professor Johanna Boult authored “Dialect Register Shift and Community Type: Applying Linguistic Capital Theory” with her dissertation chair, Ida Stockman of Michigan State University.

ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 103,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems including swallowing disorders.

More about the ULM Speech and Hearing Clinic:
The ULM Speech and Hearing Clinic evaluates and treats individuals of all ages who experience communication problems. Located on the first floor of Brown Hall, the Clinic is an integral part of the department of communicative disorders and the College of Health Sciences. Clients may be self-referred or by physicians, family members, allied health professionals, or hospital/school personnel.

The clinic has served the community for more than a quarter of a century, fulfilling contracts with area schools, hospitals, businesses, and the Scottish Rite bodies of Louisiana-Monroe. Adults and children from throughout northeast Louisiana, southern Arkansas, and the Mississippi Delta seek services at the Speech and Hearing Clinic. Annually, more than 400 screenings and evaluations, and over 4,600 hours of therapy are provided.

For more information, go to: or call (318) 342-1395.

More about hearing conservation for children:
Hearing conservation in children is often overlooked. Children will frequently place toys close to their ears. The inner ear contains hair cells that can be damaged by loud noises. Damaged hair cells cannot be replaced, and the result may be permanent hearing loss. It can occur rapidly, but commonly develops over time and often goes unnoticed until it is too late. Speech and language problems associated with such a loss can also limit academic achievement and social adjustment.

It is important to start protecting children’s hearing at a young age, also encouraging a lifetime of diligence for protecting hearing.

As parents and family members begin shopping for toys to share with their children this holiday season, ASHA reminds consumers that the noise produced by some toys may be harmful to a child's ears. ASHA urges parents and others buying toys to inspect them for noise dangers just as they would for small pieces that can be easily swallowed, and to not buy a toy if it sounds too loud.

The organization offers practical advice for parents, including information on potential risks and possible measures that can be taken to reduce the noise generated by toys:

- Think about noise when buying toys. If it sounds too loud to you, it will also be too loud for your child.
- Avoid buying toys that have a warning that they should not be used close to the ears, as children will forget this during play.
- Put masking tape over the speaker of the toy to reduce the volume.
- Musical instruments and toy guns with sound effects can be damaging or cause irritation. In some cases, the best solution is to replace such toys with other less noisy toys or restrict their use to outside play areas.
- Computer games can be annoying for other people. Place your children's computer in a special room rather than in the living room or common room.
- Children's mats or rugs are an efficient means of reducing noise from playing blocks, for example.

Information for this release was also obtained from www.asha.organd

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