In 1984, bass player and certified rock and roller Kathy Peck was jamming out with her band The Contractions at the Oakland Coliseum when she first realized the toll her hearing was taking. After years of live concerts and high volume amplifiers, Peck was beginning to understand how tinnitus was decreasing her ability to hear.

Four years later, Peck started H.E.A.R., or Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers, a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading awareness of the auditory dangers that can be accompanied with loud rock and roll music. Today H.E.A.R. is one of the largest groups in the country devoted to helping future musicians learn the potential consequences of playing or listening to music at dangerous high volumes.

According to the American Osteopathic Association, 1 in 5 teenagers today have some variation of hearing loss, and much of that blame can lie upon kids listening to music at damaging levels of volume through their headphones. Peck and her organization serve to help young people understand that there is nothing cool about potential hearing loss, and they have even enlisted the help of some credible talents to assist in spreading the word.

Famous musicians who have joined H.E.A.R. in public service announcements include guitarist Pete Townshend of The Who, drummer Lars Ulrich of Metallica and bassist Les Claypool of Primus. The group has also held sponsored concerts and events at popular music festival destinations such as South by Southwest and the Monterey Pop Festival.

On top of providing helpful information that can provide examples to young musicians how detrimental hearing loss can be, H.E.A.R. conducts annual hearing evaluation clinics at its headquarters in San Francisco to aid attendees find out if their hearing is at risk. With more than 25 years of providing support for those with auditory damage, H.E.A.R. shows no signs of halting their commitment to their cause.

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