It is likely common knowledge that exposure to loud noises over time can be detrimental to hearing, but what about the effects of wearing headphones, especially among adolescents? As more research becomes available, it’s clear that noise-induced hearing loss is common but preventable.
As a parent, you can teach your child to protect their hearing by making a few simple changes to their habits regarding noise exposure and how they use headphones.
Tactics for Protecting Hearing
The first step in safeguarding our children’s hearing is to educate them about how volume can cause hearing loss. It’s important to explain that damaged hearing doesn’t necessarily mean their ears hurt, but rather, it could manifest as ringing or buzzing sounds. They may also have trouble understanding what others are saying or feel pressure or fullness in their ears. All are indications that hearing loss is present.
To further protect against the potential effects of headphones on hearing loss, consider implementing the following strategies:
- Set volume limits: Most Androids™ and iPhones® have volume settings that allow for a maximum volume output. However, children can easily change these settings, so it’s helpful to prioritize choosing a setting together rather than forcing a child to listen at a certain volume. This presents an opportunity to explain the importance of protecting their hearing by keeping the volume at 50% or lower of the maximum capacity.
- Opt for noise-canceling headphones: Instead of using earbuds, consider noise-canceling headphones like from Quest4 Electronics. These headphones reduce background noise and provide a safer option for children. By minimizing background noise, children can better hear the sounds playing on their devices, eliminating the need to increase the volume to drown out surrounding noise. Most noise-canceling headphones also sit outside the ear as opposed to in the ear canal, which also reduces potential hearing damage.
- Cumulative exposure to loud noises can contribute to hearing damage: Encourage your child to take breaks from wearing headphones or earbuds. A simple rule could be to remove them whenever they go to another room, such as the bathroom or kitchen. This break allows the inner ear hair cells to recover and reduces the risk of damage.
- Regular hearing tests: Schedule regular hearing tests for your children, ideally every three years. Early detection is key in preventing further hearing loss. Help your child understand what symptoms of hearing loss may sound or feel like. Encourage them to speak up if they experience any of these symptoms, even if they are temporary or sporadic.
According to the CDC, 12.5% of children have permanent hearing damage due to noise exposure. Understanding how to prevent permanent hearing loss and taking steps to preserve healthy hearing is crucial. If you want to learn more about hearing loss or schedule a hearing test, contact Hearing Healthcare Center today.