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Eli Broman, 16, also got fitted for the ear plugs earlier this month. He said it is almost universal that teenagers these days have headphones or ear buds playing loud music when not in class.
“I see students walking down the hall with ear buds and I can hear the music from five feet away,” said Broman, a clarinet player in the band.
Conrad Miska, another Eagan High band director, said in the 20 years he has been at the school he has watched as more and more students spend more and more time using listening devices such as Mp3 players and smartphones.
He said he has been pleasantly surprised at the positive reaction from students about using ear protection while playing or rehearsing.
“We’re getting people buying into it,” said Miska, who notes that the Rosemount school district, of which Eagan is part, has the highest number of band students in the state.
The band directors think that getting students to buy into wearing ear protection also might make it easier one day to mandate ear plugs, much in the way athletes are required to wear mouthguards or helmets.
“If it was mandatory I think students would wear them,” Broman said, noting that at Eagan High some band directors make students do pushups if they forget to bring their ear protection to practice.
Benson said he hopes to make the ear plug fitting an annual event to get band kids coming into the school used to wearing protection.
The sooner students do this, he said, the faster they can adjust to playing with ear plugs.
“You have to relearn how to listen,” Benson said. “You do have to adjust, but there’s always a manageable way to protect your hearing.”
Herón Márquez • 952-746-3281