5.2 million 6-19 year olds have hearing loss directly related to noise exposure. (3rd National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Niskar et al. 2000)
In my previous life as a band director, I would teach my 6th graders about NIHL, or noise induced hearing loss, right before Christmas when many students might receive a "Walkman" (remember those?) as a gift. I even used the opportunity to reinforce what they learned about the powers of 10 in math class when I talked about decibels.
Well now there is a great website with a lot of NIHL resources for teachers- Dangerous Decibels
You can order a DVD for $15, an entire kit of resources for $100, or download the FREE 108 page(!) teacher's resource guide "with A K-8 curriculum supplement with hands-on science activities about the anatomy and physiology of hearing, the physics of sound, and health-related behaviors for prevention of noise-induced hearing loss."
The good news is NIHL is easily prevented. I always wear earmuffs when using power tools or mowing the lawn. And while I love to crank up my stereo on occasion, I don't overdo it because I know the consequences.
Our students need to know these consequences too, and teachers can capture students attention very easily when talking about iPods, boomboxes, mp3 players... and then turning it into a "teachable moment."
If I can find my old NIHL resources (although most of them were in a printed format), I'll be sure to list them here.