COVID-19 Updates: Latest Information for Parents

Audiology (Hearing)

Girl Scouts: Rady Children’s Hearing Protection Patch

We are pleased to offer the opportunity for Girl Scouts to learn more about hearing and hearing protection through self-completion of the Rady Children’s Hearing Protection Patch. 

Who: Brownies-Ambassadors

What: Rady Children’s Hearing Protection Patch

When: Self-Guided Patch Program Link to Activities

Where: 3020 Children’s Way, MC5010, San Diego, CA 92123

Cost: Patches are free with completion of age-appropriate activities: Rady Children’s Hearing Protection Patch.  

Contact: For more information or to receive a patch, contact Julie Purdy,  or 858-966-5408

The Facts

An estimated 12.5% of children and adolescents aged 6-19 years have suffered permanent damage to their hearing from excessive exposure to noise. This type of hearing loss is called “noise induced hearing loss” and can occur from a very loud one-time exposure to a loud sound or more commonly from listening to loud sounds over and over. This type of hearing loss cannot be repaired but it can be prevented.  The three main ways to avoid obtaining noise induced hearing loss are:  turning sounds down, walking away and protecting your ears. The steps of this patch are designed to help you make choices that will protect your hearing for your entire life!


To complete this patch, all of the * items must be completed for each section (Discover, Connect, Take Action and Reflect).

Discover Activities: 

Pick at least two of the three activities listed below. Be sure to complete the starred item.  

1. How do we hear?  Look at the diagram below.  It shows the three main parts that help us hear.  Label the diagram using the words and definitions listed below. An answer key is provided on page seven.

A. Terms and Definitions:  

a. Pinna: The pinna is the part of your ear that you see on the sides of your head. It is made of cartilage and helps you to figure out from which directions sound comes

b. Ear Canal: The ear canal allows sounds to travel from the pinna to the middle ear.  

c. Ear drum: The eardrum is at the end of the ear canal. It is a thin flap of skin that is stretched tight like a drum and vibrates when sound hits it. This is where your middle ear starts. 

d. Hammer: The hammer (or malleus) is the first of the three little bones called the ossicles that help transmit sound vibrations form the eardrum to the inner ear.  

e. Anvil: The anvil (or incus) is the second of the three little bones called the ossicles that help transmit sound vibrations form the eardrum to the inner ear.  

f. Stirrup: The stirrup (or stapes) is the third of the three little bones called the ossicles that help transmit sound vibrations form the eardrum to the inner ear.  

g. Cochlea: The cochlea is the hearing part of the inner ear. It is made of bone with fluid inside of it.  Its shape resembles that of a snail.  When the ossicles vibrate, they create movement in the fluid which stimulates small hair cells located in the cochlea.  

h. Semicircular canals: The semicircular canals are part of your balance system.

i. Nerves: The small hair cells change movement into electrical signals which are sent via the nerves to the brain.  

2. Hearing Facts: Pick at least one item from Part A and another from Part B and investigate more about the topic:  

A. How do other animals/insects here? Pick one or more of the following funny facts and investigate more about how they hear.  

a. Fish do not have ears, but they can hear pressure changes through ridges on their body. 

b. Dogs can hear much higher frequencies than humans. 

c. Snakes hear through the jawbone and through a traditional inner ear. In essence, snakes have two distinct hearing mechanisms which helps them hear and catch prey.

d. Male mosquitoes hear with thousands of tiny hairs growing on their antennae.

B. Why is protecting your hearing important? Pick one or more of the following facts and investigate more about the importance of hearing protection.    

a. Sitting in front of the speakers at a rock concert can expose you to 120 decibels which will begin to damage hearing in only 7 1/2 minutes. 

b. Thirty-seven percent of children with only minimal hearing loss fail at least one grade. 

c. The ear continues to hear sounds even while you sleep, which means you can get damage your hearing even while sleeping.  

d. Everyday sounds can damage your hearing such as hair dryers, food processors, blenders, traffic or subway noise, or tools or equipment such as leaf blowers and lawn mowers.

e. One in five children ages 12-19 years have hearing damage that is likely caused by excessive noise exposure.  

f. Of those students who did participate in noisy activities, an average of only 12% reported using earplugs while engaged in these activities

3. *How loud is too loud?  Match the noises at the top with the category below.  An answer Key is provided on page seven.  

Connect Activities: 

Be sure to complete both of the starred items listed below.

1. *With your troop/group/family, read one book from the list on page 5. What did you learn? Share what you learned with a parent, teacher or trusted friend.

2. *Pipe Cleaner Hearing Loss Game: Gather a friend or group of friends and give each person five or more pipe cleaners.  Have each person hold them at the bottom like they would hold a bouquet of flowers.


A. Turn on soft music and gently move your hand over the top of the pipe cleaners to the rhythm of the music to show how hair cells in the cochlea move. 

B. Slightly turn up the volume of the music and move your hand over the pipe cleaners in a rougher way–really bend the pipe cleaners.  

C. Continue to turn up the volume and move your hands more and more vigorously so the pipe cleaners bend over and perhaps even start falling out of your hands. 

D. Turn off the music.  Look at the two pictures below. Do the pipe cleaners look more like the healthy hair cells on the left or damaged hair cells on the right?  

E. Try to “fix” your pipe cleaners so that they stand straight again. Can they be fixed? Do they look like those at the beginning of the activity?  Much like this, the hair cells in the cochlea cannot be “fixed” just because the music stops. Once the hair cells are dead or damaged, they cannot be replaced. Unlike hair on your head, they do not grow back and cannot be repaired.  Damage to these hair cells is what causes hearing loss.  Avoiding hearing loss requires protecting these little hairs!

Take Action Activities: 

Many people do not really understand how noise exposure damages their hearing.  The impact of loud noises shows up many years later when it is too late to correct the problem.  We know that there are three ways to protect our hearing:  turning sound down, walking away and protecting our ears. For take action, pick one activity from each of the three ways of protecting your hearing and take action for yourself.    

1. Turn Sounds Down:

A. An Arm’s Distance

a. If you wear headphones or earbuds, put them in and turn the music to a comfortable level

b. Ask someone to stand an arm’s distance away from you and talk to you normally. Can you hear them?

c. If you can’t hear them, the levels of sound on your device are too loud.  Have the person keep talking and lower the volume on your device to where you can still hear them.

d. Remember this level is the appropriate level to prevent hearing loss.

B. Read about one school that measures the sound in their cafeteria. Try this in your own school by using a smart app sound level meter.  What were the solutions the school came up with in the article? What could you do?  Provide your solutions to a teacher or school administrator for consideration.

C. Enter the dB Zone;  Play the game “Save Your Ears”   Tell one other person about a strategy that surprised you that you learned from the game.  Note, this activity can only be used once.  

2. Walking Away:

A. Moving Away from Sound:

a. Place a blender, radio, blow dryer or other noisy device on a flat surface at the edge of a room.  You need to be able to move back from this sound, so it needs to be in a place you can move back from it at least 6-10 feet. 

b. Using a smart phone, turn on one of many smart apps that measure sound.  Here is one example that is free to download:  sound-meter app  

c. Turn on the noisy device 

d. Place the phone about four inches from the noisy device.  How loud is the sound?   

e. Move about 4-5 steps away from the noisy device.  Does the loudness of the sound decrease?  

f. Move back another 10 steps and measure again. Does the loudness of the sound decrease?  Adapted from

g. Share what you learned with a friend or another girl scout.  

B. Guess how loud is that sound?

a. Using a sound-level meter app, turn on noisy items in your house.

b. How loud are the items?

c. Keep moving backwards. Are you able to reduce the loudness to 80 dB or less? Enter the dB Zone: Play the game “Save Your Ears”  Tell one other person about a strategy that surprised you that you learned from the game.  Note:  This activity can only be used once.  

3. Protecting your Hearing:

A. Wearing Earplugs:  While earplugs are inexpensive and easy to use, many people do not use them properly. Watch the following video about how to wear them properly. Turn on a sound source such as a TV or radio.  Try inserting your own earplugs. Did the sound level go down?  Video:

B. Look up different types of hearing protection. What types of protection work best for the situations in your daily life?  Which are the most expensive and least expensive?

C. Enter the dB Zone:  Play the game “Save Your Ears”         Tell one other person about a strategy that surprised you that you learned from the game.  Note: This activity can only be used once.  

Reflection Activities:

What can you do to remind yourself of this process? *For reflection activities pick one of the following items which allows you to ponder what you have learned.

1. Make a list of all the sounds in your daily life that are noisy. What strategies can you use to reduce your noise level?  Make a reminder by creating a sign or reminder note.  Set a goal for yourself to use this strategy every time you come in contact with that noise for at least one month.  

2. What sounds matter to you the most?  Write a story, choreograph a dance or create a drawing that reflects what sounds you would miss the most if you were to lose your hearing. You can express your learning through any kind of artistic medium. 

3. Educate someone else by sharing what you have learned with one of your friends, Girl Scout troop or school classroom. Reflect together about why sounds matter to you and what you can do to protect your hearing.  Check in with each other weekly to see how this is going.  

4. Based on what you have learned, try something new—your pick. Why did you pick this activity? How does it help you better understand hearing protection?  

Book List

Ages 4-8: (Daisy/Brownies)

• Bessie Needs Hearing Aids by Jenna Harmke

• Button in her Ear by Ada Bassett Litchfield

• I Have a Sister, My Sister is Deaf by Jeanne Whitehouse Peterson

• Birthday for Ben by Kate Gaynor

• Dad and Me in the Morning by Patricia Lakin

• Cosmo Gets an Ear by Gary Clemente

Ages 8-13: (Juniors/Cadettes)

• Cheshire Moon by Nancy Butts

• Jessi’s Secret Language by Ann Matthews Martin

• Rally Caps by Stephen J. and Jodi Michelle Cutler

Ages 13+ (Seniors/Ambassadors)

• A Season of Change by Lois L. R. Hodge

• Rally Caps by Stephen J. Cutler

• Connor Westphal Book Series by Penny Warner

• Five Flavors of Dumb by Anthony John

Answer Keys


This patch was developed by the Developmental Services department of Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego.