As parents, we are vigilant about everything our children do. We are sure to apply sunscreen, we take care that they eat a balanced diet, don’t have too much screen time and in bed at a reasonable time every day. So it makes sense that we also take care of their hearing. Many children are born with hearing loss, and this is referred to as congenital hearing loss. Other children lose hearing in some of the following ways:
- Medication that is toxic to the ear.
- Ear infections.
- Infection diseases.
- Noise exposure.
Of those, noise exposure is the one that impacts the most children. Noise related hearing loss is typically caused by live events, sports events, loud headphones, noisy jobs, and auto events.
Preventing hearing loss is something that should become part of your daily life. Much like a healthy diet. Here are some tips to help you prevent hearing loss in children.
- If you talk to your child and are an arm’s length away, and they can’t hear you while they have headphones on, this can be an indicator that they have the volume turned up too high.
- 60/60 rule. The 60/60 rule is a simple way to teach your children to limit their own volume and time. Only have the volume set at 60% for a maximum of 60 minutes.
You’ll need to take into consideration the style of headphones that they are using. Some are designed to leak some of the sounds and might alarm you even when at a safe volume. Others are noise canceling, and they won’t hear you, even when the safe volume is set. Children’s headphones typically come with volume control, which means they can never get into the danger zone anyway.
You can get more technical if you like, use an SPL measurement app on your smartphone. The sound pressure measurement will give you a better estimate of the sound settings you think are best.
If you tend to go to a lot of sporting events, race tracks, auto shows, live music events, and have loud music in the car or at home – it might be time to rethink some of those. Or at least research into child noise-reduction ear muffs or earplugs.
It is important to know that hearing loss due to noise exposure is permanent and will more than likely require hearing aids. Hearing aids can help people with hearing loss hear better, but will not be able to restore the normal hearing.
If you often listen to very loud music for extended periods – then that is most likely what your child is going to copy. If you are seen to practice the 60/60 rule or rest your ears after going to live music events – then you are setting the best example when it comes to your own hearing, and they are likely to follow your lead here. Teach them how to take care of their hearing just like they take care of the rest of their body.