A family vacation is synonymous with summer break. The chances that your children will be packing numerous portable devices is high. Mobile devices like cell phones, pads, and music players are great for keeping children occupied on long journeys. They can, however, do irreversible damage to children’s hearing.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Noise-induced hearing loss happens when the sensitive hair cells in the inner ear receive prolonged exposure to loud noises. The cells, which are responsible for converting sound energy into electrical impulses to be sent to the brain, can’t grow back once they endure damage. Reports state that 17 of every 1,000 children have a noise-induced hearing loss before age 18. iPods and other portable players are increasing this hearing loss trend. To complicate matters further, the louder the noise is, the less time your child’s ears will be able to tolerate it.
A New Study
New research supports the risks associated with prolonged listening to music players. A recently published study confirms that children who listen to loud music through headphones could be at high risk of noise-induced hearing loss. The testing included over 3,000 children who use music players, smartphones, and tablets. 14% of the children tested experience difficulty hearing high frequencies which suggest the possibility of noise-induced hearing loss.
What You Can Do
As parents, we often warn our children about the dangers of staring at the sun for extended periods of time yet often fail in warning children about the harm extended noise does to their hearing. Your role in preventing your child from hearing loss is significant. Here are a few steps you can take to protect your child’s hearing:
- Avoid prolonged use. The most effective way to safeguard your child’s hearing from portable devices is to keep the volume below 85dB. You may want to incorporate the 60/60 rule which limits listening to 60% volume for no more than 60 minutes per day.
- Limit the volume. If you can hear your child’s portable device when you stand at arm’s length, the music is too loud. If your child insists on listening to music at a high volume, then limit the amount of listening time to no more than one hour per day.
- Develop a safe listening schedule. Consider an activity and how long your child may be involved in the activity to guide listening volume. For example, if the child is listening to a portable device while running for an extended period, keep the volume around 30%. If your child wants to listen to a favorite song, you can turn up the volume to 50% for the short time the song is playing.
- Use better earphones. High-quality earphones and earbuds can minimize the risk of noise-induced hearing loss. These devices feature quality drivers which enhance audio and decrease the need for excessive volume. Earbuds sit close to the eardrum diminishing the need for high volume.
- Get a hearing test. If you feel that your child may be experiencing hearing loss, schedule a hearing evaluation with a hearing healthcare professional today.