UNC Audiologist to Present at World Health Organization Headquarters

Deanna Meinke Will Share Survey Outcomes on Safe Listening Strategies, Serve on Panel

University of Northern Colorado Professor Deanna Meinke has been invited to speak for a second time this year at World Health Organization Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Meinke will present Oct. 1-2 during the WHO-ITU (International Telecommunication Union) Joint Stakeholders' Consultation. Participants will explore initiatives to reduce exposure to unsafe sound levels during recreational listening and raise awareness of safe listening practices among manufacturers of personal audio devices.

Meinke will present outcomes from a survey of music listeners residing in multiple countries regarding their perspectives on safe listening strategies (anyone can take the research survey here).

WHO also invited Meinke to participate as an expert consultant for the Expert Consultation on Safe Listening Devices during the conference. A working group she's a part of is charged with identifying key focus areas and developing norms and standards for safe listening devices.

WHO estimates that 1.1 billion young people worldwide could be at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices. Nearly half of all teenagers and young adults (12-35 years old) are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from the use of personal audio devices and face the possibility of developing irreversible hearing loss over a period of time, according to WHO.

Meinke is a sought-after expert on the prevention of noise-induced hearing. She was an invited panelist at a WHO conference in March to discuss her experience with the Dangerous Decibels program she co-directs. The initiative includes a student-involved project that uses sound-level meters placed in mannequins' ears to visually demonstrate the volume produced by personal music players. UNC faculty and students take the educational mannequins to K-12 schools and community outreach events such as the upcoming Mini-Maker Faire (http://makerfairenoco.com/) to educate and model safe-listening levels.

Meinke serves as past president of the National Hearing Conservation Association and is chairperson of the Safe-In-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

This week she was featured in Dallas Morning News article about noisy hand dryers, http://www.dallasnews.com/lifestyles/health-and-fitness/health/20150921-for-drying-out-loud-noisy-hand-dryers-cause-issues-for-some.ece