Operation BANG

BANG (Be Aware of Noise Generation)


  1. Introduction (this page)
  2. Day 1, Part 1 – “And There Was Sound”
    Anatomy and Physiology
  3. Day 1, Part 2 – “And There Was Sound”
    Science of Sound
  4. Operation BANG Cost Breakout
  5. Day 2 – The Noise Experience
  6. Day 3 – Hearing Appreciation Day
  7. Condensed Curriculum-Younger Grades
  8. Condensed Curriculum-Older Grades
  9. Handouts for Students/Parents
  10. About the BANG contributors

By Maj Tressie Waldo, USAF

Operation BANG began in 1989 at McClellan AFB, CA, by then Capt Theresa Schulz. This program is designed to be a three-day (1 hour per day) hearing loss prevention campaign for fifth graders. Why fifth graders? Most states require hearing screenings in the fifth grade. Also, this age range is fairly easy to motivate and are old enough to comprehend the complexities of noise-induced hearing loss. With that said, let’s look at the BANG curriculum.

The curriculum focuses on teaching children about noise and hearing loss but also tries to enhance their appreciation of good hearing and motivate them to protect it. On Day 1 (And There Was Sound), students learn the basic anatomy and physiology of the ear as well as the science of sound and noise. Day 2 (The Noise Experience) is a day of experiencing hazardous noise. On Day 3 (Hearing Appreciation Day), students will experience the effects of noise on hearing and the importance of preserving hearing. Two basic concepts should be repeated throughout BANG: 3 ways to protect your hearing and the 3-foot rule. The three ways to protect hearing are: turn it down, walk away, and cover your ears. Remember the 3-foot rule: if you have to raise your voice to be heard above the noise at arm’s length (3 feet), then the noise is too loud.

Granted, many schools may be unable to spare 3, 1-hour blocks of their time. This program can be modified for a 45-minute presentation. In addition, schools may request you present Operation BANG to the entire elementary school, not just the fifth grade. This also may be accomplished. Included with the BANG curriculum are guidelines for accomplishing the above modifications. This condensed curriculum is provided courtesy of Dorie Watkins, Director of Audiology at the Center for Hearing Health.

To further enhance the Operation BANG experience, provide handouts for the students. An excellent resource for handouts is Hearing Conservation published by Super Duper® Publications. If possible, have the school make copies for you. Depending on funding, also give the children stickers, pamphlets, pencils, pins, etc. Also, check with your Public Affairs office for items they would like to have discarded, like special commemorative bookmarks or old newspapers. You may also want to consider giving out door prizes like earmuffs, posters, etc., if funding allows. Consider having a poster contest. The presentation of award(s) to the winner(s) may capture the attention of the local media and further the cause to the surrounding community as well.

Furthermore, enlist the help of other audiologists in your area as well as other professions/career fields. Anyone with a background in hearing, noise, hearing protection, etc. can perform Operation BANG with success.

And finally, have fun and be enthusiastic. Working with these children is a very rewarding experience. Take a walk through the halls and visit the cafeteria. Wait until you see what a wonderful response you’ll get!!

Thanks to those of you, there are many, which provided wonderful suggestions for this curriculum. This curriculum is by no means complete. It is as flexible as your creativity. Keep pressing in your efforts and share your ideas with others.