ASA 124th Meeting New Orleans 1992 October

3aNS4. The ASA's role in preventing nonoccupational hearing loss in the United States.

William W. Clark

Central Inst. for the Deaf, 818 S. Euclid, St. Louis, MO 63110

Recent evidence has suggested that exposure to excessive noise outside the workplace is making a significant negative contribution to the hearing of Americans, both young and old. Once considered a hazard only to those who worked where loud noise necessarily accompanied manufacturing processes, excessive noise exposure also threatens the hearing of individuals who engage in noise leisure activities such as hunting and sport shooting or listening to amplified music through headphones or in ``boom box'' automobiles. ASA can help to prevent nonoccupational hearing loss in several ways. The collective scientific and engineering expertise of ASA members should be exploited to conduct and report careful, quantitative studies on noise exposure associated with leisure activities. Recommendations concerning hazardous exposures can be developed by the ASA and disseminated to the public through the media, to manufacturers of noise products, and to appropriate regulatory bodies. Educational programs can be developed by the ASA for use in schools, 4-H clubs, scouting, gun clubs, and other community organizations. These efforts would increase the visibility of the ASA nationally, and may reduce the impact of nonoccupational noise exposure on Americans.