Your child lives in a noisy world. According to the American Academy of Audiology, it is estimated that 5 million children have noise induced hearing loss. Everyday noise exposure comes from things such as toys, loud music, video games, sporting events, band and orchestra participation, and even the school cafeteria. Short term exposure to a very loud noise, or even long term exposure to noise that is not that loud, can damage your child’s ears and cause permanent hearing loss. The extent of that damage depends on how loud the sound is, how close to the source of the sound your child is, and the length of time your child is exposed to the sound. The good news is, noise induced hearing loss is completely PREVENTABLE.

HOW LOUD IS TOO LOUD?

Any sound 85dB or louder can cause damage to your child’s hearing. The louder the sound, or the longer your child is exposed to that sound, the more damage it may do. Here’s a list of some every day sounds:

  • Rock Music= 150dB
  • Firecrackers=120-140dB
  • iPod at maximum volume=100-115dB
  • noisy toys=90dB
  • alarm clock=80dB
  • vacuum cleaner=70dB
  • normal conversation 50-60dB
  • whispered speech=35dB

SYMPTOMS OF A NOISE INDUCED HEARING LOSS:

So what do you look for, or what might you notice if your child is suffering from a noise induced hearing loss? Here are some signs and symptoms:

  • Difficulty hearing soft sounds
  • Conversation sounding muffled, or unclear, especially in when in noisy environments
  • Ringing of buzzing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Difficulty understanding his/her classroom teacher

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Knowledge is power, and as previously stated, noise induced hearing loss is preventable. So, what can you do as the parent? Here’s a list of things you can to do ensure your child’s hearing is protected:

  • Educate yourself on noise induced hearing loss
  • Set maximum volume levels on electronic devices to a safe level
  • Move your child away from the source of noise
  • Encourage your child to wear hearing protection in very noisy environments. Special hearing protection for use in band or orchestra is available as well.
  • Talk to your child about the importance of protecting his/her hearing, and the long term effects of exposure to loud noise
  • If you have any concern regarding your child’s hearing, have an audiological evaluation done by a licensed audiologist