As a parent, you try to protect your child from dangerous situations – you don’t let your child play in the street, you give them medication when they are ill, and you prevent them from handling sharp objects. Many dangers are easy to see, such as a hot stove, a sharp knife, or oncoming traffic.
However, do you think about protecting your child’s hearing? The number of children who experience hearing damage is shocking: it is estimated that one in six children experience hearing damage caused by loud and repeated noise exposure by the end of their teenage years. Based on those statistics, your children are fairly likely to be included in those numbers!
What is even more surprising about this number is that this type of hearing damage is almost always preventable. The key is to be aware of situations that could damage your child’s hearing and to take appropriate measures to protect them.
Here are a few tips to help you prevent damage to your child’s hearing:
- Be a good example.
As a parent, you are always seen as a model for your children. Set a good example of caring for your hearing by turning down volumes that are too loud, protecting your ears in very noisy settings, and walking away from loud sounds.
- Help your child respect their hearing.
Your child is less likely to take steps to protect their hearing if they don’t appreciate it. Help your child respect their hearing by teaching them to be thankful for what they can hear, such as asking them about their favorite sounds.
- Set listening rules and time limits.
Listening rules are important for children and adults alike. You can try the 80/90 rule: Keep your device volume setting lower than 80 percent and limit listening time to 90 minutes per day. Children can also easily understand the “Arm’s Length Rule.” In this rule, they should turn down the volume on their device if they cannot hear a person speaking to them an arm’s length away.
Limiting the time your child is exposed to loud sounds can also help prevent hearing damage. If your child uses hearing protection, such as protective earmuffs, they can be exposed to loud sounds for a longer period of time without experiencing damage. This can be helpful for loud events such as sporting events or concerts.
- Use hearing protection.
Just as you would dress your child in a coat for cold temperatures, you should help your child use hearing protection for loud events. Age-appropriate protective earmuffs are available to fit infant-, toddler-, and child-sized heads.
- Be aware of dangerously loud sounds.
Mobile phones now offer sound-level meter apps, so you can stay aware of how loud sounds are at various events. This is especially helpful for events when you don’t know beforehand exactly how loud the sounds will be, such as sporting events or concerts. Don’t forget that everyday, at-home sounds can also be dangerously loud, such as power tools or lawn care.
With these five steps, you can protect your child’s hearing from damage caused by loud sound exposure. If you would like to learn more about how you can protect your child’s hearing, or if you believe your child needs to be tested for hearing damage, please contact our audiologist practice today. We are eager to provide you with the resources and care your family needs.