(2011) WHS Band Grant – Chris Brannan – Sound Isolation Headphones

Many thanks go out to the Wylie Education Foundation and West Texas Rehab for helping fund Integrating Sound Isolation Headphones to Encourage Use of Hearing Protection. During the summer of 2011, the Wylie High School Percussion Studio went to WTR for hearing screenings. While no significant hearing loss was found, the students learned that being exposed to the decibel levels that are associated with percussion and drumline over a long period of time can cause hearing loss.

During summer band and the fall semester, the students used the Vic Firth Sound Isolation Headphones along with other components to perform with play-along tracks. The students used these mainly during sectionals and individual practice sessions.

During full band practice, the use of the listening stations could not be used, however throughout the season, the student’s were encouraged to use earplugs to help protect their hearing. When we began this project, only a few students were using hearing protection on a regular basis. By the end of the season, everyone in the percussion section was using hearing protection.

This use of hearing protection even found its way down to the Junior High. The JH students were told of dangers of being exposed to loud music over long periods of time and encouraged to use hearing protection. Almost all of the 7th and 8th grade percussionists now wear earplugs when playing marching percussion instruments.

This project was a great success. With almost a 100% turn around in students not using earplugs to now protecting their ears, the students have learned how to take care of their most important assets as a musician – their ears and their hearing.

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