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prevention program for children

A study conducted by the American Medical Association revealed that 20 percent of teenagers in North America are affected by hearing loss. The Hearing Foundation of Canada (THFC) is working to combat this issue with its Sound Sense prevention program, which educates children and young people specifically about the topic of hearing loss and noise.

Place & Year

Canada, 2009, 2011, 2014, 2015


John Bamford Award



Main Focus

Children Providing audiological care for children in low-income countries is a focal area of the Hear the World Foundation’s activities.
Professional training The Hear the World Foundation supports projects that enable continuous audiological training for professionals on site.
Prevention of hearing loss The Hear the World Foundation globally promotes awareness for the topics of hearing and hearing loss and thus actively contributes toward the prevention of hearing loss.
Programs for parents & families By supporting self-help groups for parents, the Hear the World Foundation makes an important contribution, thus ensuring that affected parents receive specific help and assistance.

MP3 players, concerts, going clubbing – many teenagers regularly expose themselves to intense noise, but a lot of them are unaware that noise can cause irreversible damage to their hearing. With the Sound Sense program, THFC aims to raise awareness among schoolchildren across Canada of the risks of noise and the importance of good hearing for quality of life. Workshop leaders are trained specially to travel all over the country visiting fourth- to sixth-grade classes. The interactive workshops, which last approximately 50 minutes, are designed to inform, educate, and stimulate discussion. A video is also shown and the children are given the opportunity to measure the noise level of their MP3 players to test whether the music they are listening to is too loud.

Prevention through information

Schoolchildren are not the only ones who learn about the risks posed by noise through Sound Sense. After the workshops, they are given earplugs and information material, which is aimed primarily at their parents and families and provides clear, concise information about the impact of noise on hearing. With the help of the Hear the World Foundation, THFC is keen to further expand the Sound Sense program in Canada in order to prevent as many children and teenagers as possible from developing noise-induced hearing loss.

Prof John Bamford was a member of the Hear the World Foundation Advisory Board and the Head of the Audiology Department at the University of Manchester in 2007. He retains a strong interest in childhood screening, paediatric audiology, and service development and improvement. He chaired a review of audiology services for the Irish Health Service Executive, and advised on the implementation of a new Audiology Clinical Care Programme in Ireland.