As parents, a lot of what we do is protecting our children from outside issues. And teaching them about ways that they can take care of themselves too. Over-exposure to loud noises or music can cause irreparable damage to your children’s hearing pretty quickly.
Causes of Hearing Loss In Children
Some children are born with hearing loss, this is called congenital hearing loss.
Other hearing loss can be caused by ear infections, medications that are toxic to the ear, noise exposure, and certain infectious diseases. Of all of those, noise exposure is the one that causes the most hearing loss cases in children.
1 in 6 teenagers show signs of hearing loss that can be attributed to sports events, listening to loud music through headphones, live music concerts, and loud-noise jobs.
There are a number of signs that you may spot. But it may take time before it comes to light what is going on. Here are some things you might notice:
Avoidance of loud settings, while it might look like the ideal place for a person with hearing issues. It can cause a lot of pain. So you might find things that they enjoyed previously might cause them to be irritable.
Distracted behavior. If there are background noise, you may see that they are distracted, and when you call them, they may not respond. Or they may have trouble concentrating in general.
Increased tiredness. When your child is trying to compensate for the hearing loss, they will be trying to pay close attention. This can make them much more tired after school.
Most often, that damage will come from headphones.
So it is crucial that you are vigilant with your child’s headphone habits. In general, you can go with a 60/60 rule. Having the volume at 60% or lower, for no more than 60 minutes at a time. Alternatively, you can go with the arm’s length rule – if they can’t hear you at an arm’s length away, the music is probably too loud.
It will also depend on the style of headphones. Some are designed to ‘leak’ the music out, and others are noise-canceling. So be aware of the type your child has too.
Although the best thing to do is prevention through teaching health hearing habits (like those mentioned above.
There are treatment options for hearing loss. Hearing aids can help people with hearing loss hear better. But will not be able to restore normal hearing.
You can learn more about what to expect at a hearing aid fitting, to see what would be involved.
Leading By Example
The best way to help children learn more about keeping themselves safe is by giving them the best example to follow.
Use your own headphones wisely, and keep a check on the volume of your own music. When you go to sporting events or loud venues, use the right ear protection to dampen the noise too.
Your children will look to follow your lead in almost everything – including this.