5 Tips to Protect Your Child’s Hearing

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Protect Your Child's Hearing

Our world is noisier than ever before. Airplanes flying in the skies with jets rumbling, cars and trucks crowding the streets revving and honking, sidewalks bustling with people talking, and restaurants overflowing with diners and alive with loud music are just a few of the things ratcheting up the noise level. And noise doesn’t discriminate. Sound waves at high decibels over long periods can do damage to even the youngest of little ears.

It’s more important than ever to protect your child’s hearing.

The facts on noise

Hearing loss, once considered to only affect the elderly, has quickly become a concern for people of all ages. In fact, an estimated one in six kids has hearing damage by the time they reach the end of their teenage years thanks to everyday noise pollution, personal listening devices, concerts and more.

Over the years, as the level of noise pollution as grown, policymakers have worked to safeguard the public’s hearing, but the debate over what is “safe” continues. Today, while prolonged exposure to anything under 85 decibels is generally considered safe in the United States, many push for lower maximum levels similar to those of the EU where there is a maximum of 50 dB during the day for an extended amount of time.

These examples of average decibel levels can help give you an idea of what those levels sound like:

  • Refrigerator = 50 decibels
  • Normal conversation = 60 decibels
  • Washing machine = 70 decibels
  • An MP3 player at maximum volume = 105 decibels
  • Car horn = 110 decibels

These policies to help limit noise exposure are only one small step, though. It’s up to individuals to take charge of their hearing. That includes parents taking steps to protect their child’s hearing.

How to protect your child’s hearing

If you have children in your home, there are several steps you can take to help them prevent hearing loss now and into the future:

  • Get to know safe sound levels: There are now several apps that can help you get familiar with decibel levels and how loud is too loud. Our homes are often louder than we realize, especially to young ears. Keep television, radio and other electronics’ sound levels within a safe range. Opt for quieter appliances in your home. Even toys can exceed safe sound levels.
  • Make hearing protection a standard at home and away: There are now many options available to help kids (and adults) protect their hearing including protective earmuffs that can be adjusted to smaller heads, adjustable elastic headband style ear muffs and the more standard ear plugs, ear molds, and noise-canceling headphones. These can be worn at home when the family is doing noisy yard work or away from home during loud movies and music concerts among other things.
  • Limit exposure: Hearing is damaged when we are exposed to unsafe levels of noise over long periods. Limit exposure by setting time limits, using hearing protection. Many devices used frequently by kids now make it easier than ever to set time and volume limits, too.
  • Set an example: As with anything else, it’s essential to walk the walk when it comes to protecting hearing. Make a point of following these tips to protect your own hearing. Your kids will see and model this behavior to protect their own.
  • Schedule regular hearing evaluations: Just as you would schedule regular doctor and dentist appointments, schedule regular hearing evaluations with a hearing healthcare provider to monitor your and your children’s hearing. This provides a baseline and helps to monitor hearing and any gradual hearing loss.

Help protect your child’s hearing with tips like these. Small steps every day can help prevent hearing loss and set them up for a lifetime of healthy hearing.

If you’re ready to schedule a hearing evaluation or would like more information about hearing loss, contact our office.

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