We all want the best for our kids, yet many of us don’t realise that listening to loud music and sound can have a lasting impact on their hearing.
With nearly 50% of 12 to 35 year olds being exposed to unsafe levels of sound from personal audio devices, one EU study’s prediction that 1 in 10 30 year olds will need a hearing aid by 2020 seems all the more likely.
Noise-induced hearing loss can be permanent. When loud noise reaches the inner ear, it can damage the fragile hair cells responsible for converting sound into messages that are then sent to the brain. When these hair cells are damaged, the conversion process is interrupted, resulting in irreversible hearing loss.
Signs of hearing damage include:
- ringing in the ears after listening to loud sound
- feeling “full” in the ears
- trouble hearing what is being said by someone nearby.
It is important to talk to children about safe listening limits and proper use of earbuds. For example, can others hear what they are listening to? If so, the volume is too loud and should be turned down until others can no longer hear it.
In particular, teach your children the 60/60 rule, which stipulates listening at 60% of the maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes at a time.
Headphones can also be a better choice than earbuds which deliver sound directly to the inner ear with an increased volume of around six to nine decibels.
Noise-induced hearing loss is avoidable and by teaching your children about safe listening, they can enjoy full hearing into adulthood.
If your child reports any of the symptoms listed above, a professional hearing test can help determine the cause. Phone The Hearing Company on (094) 902 5672 to book an appointment with our fully qualified audiologist Peter Maguire at our Castlebar, Westport or Ballina clinics.