Children are in a constant process of discovery. Perhaps it’s this process which helps us also experience the wonders of life all over again. If you are a hearing aid user then it’s likely that your children will ask questions about them. This is your chance to start talking about the importance of not only protecting their hearing now, but destigmatizing hearing treatments such as hearing aids. For generations hearing aids have gotten a bad reputation for making you seem old, out of touch and weak. In truth, today nothing could be farther from the truth. While hearing aids of the past were cumbersome and prone to feedback, today’s hearing aids will enhance your hearing so you can stay connected and focused to everyday conversations with your kids and contemporaries. Enjoy more confidence, poise, independence, and health when you invest in a life where hearing aids are a part of them.
Teaching Your Kids About Protecting Your Hearing
Hearing loss is a permanent condition in about 90 percent of cases. It’s caused by damage to the tiny hair-like cells of your inner ear which are the sole connector between your inner ear and your brain. The problems arise when certain tones, pitches and levels of sound can’t reach your brain leaving breaks in words and making some sounds unintelligible.
The Risks of Hearing Loss for You and Your Children
There are a great number of causes of hearing loss of this nature, including chronic ear infections, which are common in children, impact to the head and certain medications. Monitor your children’s medication and if they complain of discomfort in their ears or show signs of pain in the ear, don’t hesitate to contact their pediatrician immediately. While you should always insist that your child wears a helmet when riding a bike and wears a seat belt in the car to prevent head injuries, one cause of hearing loss that they may need to navigate more independently as they age is protection from loud noise.
Noise Induced Hearing Loss
The loudness or volume of sound is measured in a unit called decibels (dBA). While your children can listen to certain levels of sound indefinitely without sustaining damage, past a safe listening threshold their ears may be at risk. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 1.1 billion people between the ages of 12 and 35 are at risk for hearing worldwide, due to unsafe listening practices, at entertainment venues and through headphone use.
Any sound above 85 dBA for eight hours or more surpasses safe listening limits and can put you and your families’ hearing at risk. However, it is not just the level of sound but the length of exposure. The louder the decibel level the shorter it takes to damage hearing. Headphones have the potential to play sounds louder than 100 dBA which can cause damage in 15 minutes or less. However, due to unlimited media and streaming through headphones, many will listen unsafely for hours at a time.
Define a Hearing Protection Plan
Come up with a hearing protection plan with your kids. This can include reminding them not only of the permanence of hearing loss, but some of the negative and lifelong side effects it can cause such as issues in an educational setting, lower earnings at work, higher unemployment rates, higher rates of depression, cognitive decline, and higher risks of accidents. Your children may have the false impression that they are impervious to harm. If so, you are doing a good job at helping them stay safe, but remember that when you create a habit of safety, protecting your hearing is not a big deal. It means asking them to take listening breaks when using headphones for music and media every hour or so and keeping the level turned no higher than 60 percent of the potential volume.
Teach them When to Know When They’re Hearing Is at Risk
It can also mean wearing hearing protection when going to loud music venues and helping them to understand what it may sound like when their hearing is at risk. For instance, let them know that if they are in a loud room and they need to shout to feel like others can hear them from three feet away or less, then it is loud enough to be damaging to their hearing. Invest in hearing protection they like so they are more likely to wear it, but most likely, if you’ve outlined the risks of hearing loss, for most children this should be enough.
If you suspect that you or your child has hearing loss, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a hearing exam.