Conference attendees help kids keep their hearing healthy.
In addition to enjoying face-painting, snacks, prizes, and haircuts, kids learned about protecting their hearing as part of the first community service event hosted by the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. AAO-HNS teamed up with nonprofit Neighborhood House at the association’s 2016 Annual Meeting in San Diego, where ear, nose, and throat doctors conducted free hearing screenings for underprivileged children.
“It helped the kids definitely to understand how to take care of their ears and hearing much better,” says Johnnie White, CAE, AAO-HNS senior director of global education, meetings, and strategic partnerships. Like young adults, many kids risk hearing loss from listening to loud music through earbuds, White says, and doctors “can tell them what the right volume should be.”
The event was also a chance to raise awareness of the otolaryngology field, he says. But only 10 doctors with practices in San Diego could be involved because participants needed to be licensed in California. So AAO-HNS is taking a different approach to community service at this year’s conference in Chicago. “What we wanted to do this time is really provide the opportunity for a lot more of our attendees to participate,” White says.
Through a partnership with Cradles to Crayons, a nonprofit that provides clothing and care packages for children, meeting attendees will be able to give back by either donating to a winter clothing drive or volunteering to sort, match, and pack clothes at the nonprofit’s facility.
“This will be an opportunity for us to leave an imprint and make [attendees] feel good that they’ve done something that’s changing somebody’s life in that city that they just visited,” White says.