The Hearing Foundation of Canada approached us with a set of disturbing numbers.
Over 30% of Canadian teens will reach adulthood with some degree of noise induced hearing loss, almost exclusively caused by listening to music with headphones at an unsafe volume. How could they get teens to turn the music down to safe levels?
We knew that a typical PSA message, warning teens of the dire consequences of their behaviour, would be a waste of time and money.
Fact is that a teenager’s life is already full to the brim with “don’t do this” messages. Don’t drink, don’t party, don’t come home late. Do not hang out with that guy/girl. Adding to those lists would only create resentment.
Instead of telling teens yet another thing they shouldn’t do, we did something else. We realized how important music is to teens. Maybe instead of listening to reason we could get them to listen to more music.
Our reasoning was that you needed your hearing to be able to listen to music. Maybe we could sneak our message through that way.
Here’s Ana folk version:
Here’s Jordan’s urban soul version of the same song.
On the back of this recording we then launched a pilot for the I Hear Ya program. Live concerts in schools were supported by a web hub, social media activities, contests, and videos showing the realities of hearing loss.
The result? The program performed exceptionally well in a research study, with over 75% of teens taking part stating that they had reduced the volume to safe levels.