Exposure to loud noises is proven to have a detrimental impact on hearing. In time, more research is becoming available shedding light on the impact of wearing headphones, especially among adolescents.
Noise-induced hearing loss is common but preventable. Parents can teach children tactics to protect their own hearing by changing a few habits in relation to noise exposure and the way they use headphones.
Guarding Against Hearing Loss
The first step in protecting a child from the impact of earbuds or headphones is teaching them about how volume can cause hearing loss. It’s helpful to teach a child that damaged hearing doesn’t necessarily mean their ears hurt, that it could instead mean their ears are ringing or buzzing. It may also be useful to explain that it could be hard to understand what people are saying to you or that their ears feel pressure or fullness.
There are additional tactics to take to safeguard against headphones’ effects on hearing loss.
Consider the following:
- Set volume limits: Androids and iPhones have volume settings allowing for a maximum volume output. These settings can be easily changed by children, however, so it’s helpful to consider choosing a setting together. That time can be used to explain the importance of protecting hearing by minimizing volume. Aim to keep volume at 50% or lower of the maximum capacity.
- Consider noise-canceling headphones instead of earbuds: The combination of reduced background noise and the way headphones are worn provide a safer option for children. Minimized background noise allows a child to better hear the sounds playing on the device. This is also a great opportunity to teach a child not to increase volume to drown out background noise.
- Take listening breaks: Hearing damage can happen from cumulative exposure to loud noises. Taking breaks will relieve the inner ear hair cells that risk being damaged. A good rule to practice would be to ask the child to remove earbuds or headphones any time they go to another room, like the bathroom or kitchen.
- Get hearing checked regularly: Children should get a hearing test every three years. Early detection can help prevent further hearing loss by treating it promptly. Help a child understand what symptoms of hearing loss can sound and feel like and encourage them to bring them up, even if the symptoms happened only once or went away.
The CDC estimates that 12.5% of children have permanent hearing damage due to noise exposure. It’s helpful to understand how to prevent permanent hearing loss and do what you can to preserve healthy hearing.
Contact The ENT Center of New Braunfels to learn more about hearing loss or to schedule a hearing test contact The ENT Center of New Braunfels.