Several 4-H youth and others have brought the Noisy Planet health education program to their communities, reaching hundreds of children in diverse parts of the United States. The presentations were the result of Noisy Planet’s participation in the National Youth Summit on Healthy Living held in February 2015 in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The summit was hosted by the National 4-H Council and National 4-H Youth Conference Center in partnership with professionals in family consumer science and health. The goal of the summit was to help specially selected high school students develop community-based health promotion activities and events. Approximately 140 student participants from 12 states—and their adult mentors and chaperones—participated in the summit.

Phalla Messina doing a presentation at the 4-H Summit

Noisy Planet was one of six invited groups to offer training workshops at the summit. Noisy Planet team member Phalla Keng led three hour-long workshops that highlighted activities and tools that youth and adult educators can use to help raise awareness about noise-induced hearing loss and to implement healthy hearing activities in their community. More than 100 participants attended the Noisy Planet workshops, which covered how we hear, the causes and prevention of noise-induced hearing loss, how to access free resources from the Noisy Planet campaign, and how to plan community-based healthy hearing activities.

Here is a snapshot of some of the resulting community-based activities by 4-Hers and 4-H staff:

  • Cathy Allen, a 4-H assistant extension specialist and curriculum coordinator from Stillwater, Oklahoma, borrowed Noisy Planet’s trifold display for an exhibit at the Oklahoma Youth Expo. More than 7,000 4-Hers and Future Farmers of America attended the expo. Cathy and her team distributed nearly 300 Noisy Planet  How Loud is Too Loud? bookmarks (1.3 MB PDF) to expo attendees.
  • Katie Sharpnes, a high school student, presented Noisy Planet’s 45-minute interactive health education program to 380 kids in grades 3-5 in Caldwell, Idaho. According to Katie, both the kids and the teachers loved the presentation.
  • Virginia Harness, another high school student from Caldwell, led the Noisy Planet program in four school summer reading programs. The participants were primarily Hispanic/Latino youth from rural or farm communities in grades 1-5.

Ms. Keng was also a member of a career panel and shared her background and why she chose health education as a career. A special thanks to the National 4-H Council and the National 4-H Youth Conference Center for inviting Noisy Planet to participate in the February summit! And congratulations to the youth participants for implementing the program! The Noisy Planet team would love to hear from other 4-Hers who have done healthy hearing programming in their communities. Drop us a line at and let us know what activities you planned.

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