Why and How You Need to Protect Your Child’s Hearing
Typically, adults start losing their hearing around the age of 65. While some hearing loss is age-related, a large portion of it can be prevented by protecting your ears earlier on. That is why it is so important to begin protecting your child’s hearing as soon as possible.
When a sound reaches or exceeds 85 decibels (dB) it can cause hearing loss in any individual, regardless of their age. However, the louder the sound, the faster it can damage your hearing. In fact, noises that hit 120 dB can damage your hearing almost immediately.
One in six children that are exposed to loud, repetitive sounds will experience hearing damage by the time they’re teenagers.
For reference, here are some common sounds and their sound output:
- Breathing: 10 dB
- Whispering: 30 dB
- Normal Talking: 60 dB
- Washing Machine: 70 dB
- Lawnmower: 80-85 dB
- Motorcycle: 95 dB
- Car Horn: 100 dB
- Shouting: 110 dB
- Sirens: 120 dB
- Fireworks: 150-175 dB
But what does this mean for children?
Well, most children are relatively sensitive to loud sounds and their reactions often vary. Depending on the harshness of the sound, a child may get upset and cry or act annoyed. However, the damages will remain the same. One in six children that are exposed to loud, repetitive sounds will experience hearing damage by the time they’re teenagers. So the earlier you start actively protecting their hearing, the better!
How to Prevent Hearing Loss in Your Child
- Use Personal Protective Gear
While it is nearly impossible to prevent your child from hearing all loud sounds, start by using protective gear. Find something that your child is comfortable wearing and start there. We recommend our own Alpine Muffy Baby - Sophie la Giraffe Earmuffs. Unlike earplugs, these earmuffs can be adjusted to your child’s head to ensure they stay on tight throughout all of their movements. When fit snuggly against the ears, they can reduce up to 23 dB of external noise.
- Teach Your Children to Recognize When Noises are Too Loud
While it may be obvious to recognize some sounds that exceed safe noise levels, there are mobile apps that can help you train your ear to recognize the levels of various sounds. You can involve your child in this process and teach them to respect their hearing and the negative consequences of loud sounds.
- Set Limits
Studies show that loud noises increase hearing damage over a long period of time, much like a sunburn. So in order to prevent hearing loss, limit your child’s exposure to loud sounds, such as video games, music, or sporting events. If your child’s exposure is primarily from digital games, you can implement a time limit that locks their system once they’ve reached their daily intake.
You can also limit the volume on their devices so they cannot exceed safe sound output levels. According to the 80/90 rule, parents should cap their child’s volume level to 80% and screen time to 90 minutes a day.
- Promote Good Habits
You want to promote good habits in your family, so when your child outgrows these parental controls they still practice safe hearing. So here is a good rule of thumb to follow- if you cannot hear someone talking from an arm-length away, the volume is too loud.
Is Your Child Extra Sensitive to Sounds?
Some children have a heightened sensitivity to noises, in which case, parents should take extra precautions.
While it is not uncommon for children to react extremely to loud noises, normally their sensitivity goes away with time. If it does not, parents should carefully observe what kinds of noises trigger these reactions, as it may be the sign of a sensory processing disorder.
However, this is no reason to be alarmed unless the sounds are negatively impacting your child’s everyday life. In this case, you should contact your pediatrician immediately. For example, it is normal for a child to become overwhelmed in crowded areas, but it is not so normal if they have anxiety when they hear humming.
So if you are noticing unusual behavior in your child when they encounter certain sounds, observe them and contact your doctor, just to be safe.
With Love and Gratitude,
The Calisson Toy Family