We’re hEAR For You is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to increase the awareness of noise-induced hearing loss, hearing loss prevention, and the use of earplugs among the music community. Noise exposure accounts for much of hearing loss in adults and has been noted as a primary factor in hearing loss in young adults and adolescents. Recreational and community noise exposure can lead to high frequency hearing loss and tinnitus. Damage from noise exposure can often be traced to listening to amplified music through headphones or sound systems, while playing music, attending concerts or dance venues, or other noisy activities.
We promote the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus by educating individuals about the risks of noise exposure and the importance of of using hearing protection, we provide free earplugs at a variety of music venues in Georgia and at a growing number of music festivals nationwide, we also offer free hearing screenings through the University of Georgia Speech Hearing Clinic.
We’re hEAR For You was founded in 2009 by Speech-Language Pathologist Caroline DeCelles and Music Business Professional Katie Carmody after realizing the need for concert-goers to have access to free hearing protection. While in graduate school, illness ruptured one of Caroline’s eardrums, leaving her particularly sensitive to loud noise. While attending a concert a few days later, she attempted to purchase a pair of earplugs at a local music venue, but the machine was empty. For Caroline, it was like an epiphany. She was studying speech and hearing and knew the importance of protecting her hearing from noise exposure. It was this experience that inspired We’re hEAR For You’s inception.
With support from graduate students in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program at the University of Georgia, and undergraduate student volunteers from the University of Georgia National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NSSLHA), We’re hEAR For You (WHFY) became involved with AthFest, the annual music and arts festival held in downtown Athens, Georgia. Annually, WHFY provides an information center for noise, hearing loss, hearing conservation, and tinnitus education on the festival grounds and provides free earplugs and hearing screening coupons to music venues and AthFest attendees.
Since our inception in 2009, Athens has welcomed We’re hEAR For You. WHFY is active in the local media, the Internet community, the local school system, and at venues and special events in the Athens area. We’re hEAR For You supporters include some of Athens’ key players in both the musical and medical communities.