It’s no surprise that today’s children utilize headphones and earbuds more than their parents or even older millennials did when they were their age. According to a recent study the average age at which a child receives a smartphone is only 10.3. As you know, today’s smartphones come with unrestricted access to music, films, and mobile games. Children are exposed even in school, where there is a concerted effort to increase technology use and proficiency in education.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 12.9 percent of children aged 6 to 19 have noise-induced hearing loss. According to the World Health Organization, around 1 billion teenagers and children are in danger of hearing damage due to excessive noise exposure through earbuds and other personal listening devices.
The truth is that youngsters use headphones and earbuds more than you did, and their hearing health is suffering as a result.
Hearing Loss Caused by Noise
It’s crucial to understand how we hear before talking about noise-induced hearing loss and optimal sound levels. Sound waves pass through the canal till they reach the eardrum when they enter our ears. Vibrations from the eardrum travel down the middle ear and into the inner ear. The spiral-shaped cochlea in the inner ear is full of tiny hair cells. These hair cells convert vibrations into electrical signals, which are then processed by the brain into sounds that we recognize and understand – and thus hear.
Repeated exposure to loud noises destroys these sensitive hair cells (or simply a single exposure). There is no way to repair or develop these sensitive cells after they have been harmed, and they’re gone once they’re gone.
Because earbuds are pressed upon the eardrums, the risk of injury is increased.
How loud are these devices?
Adults with fully developed ears should be exposed to sounds at 85 decibels (or 85dBA) for no more than 8 hours at a time. The noise level of 85 dBA is comparable to that of a garbage disposal or dishwasher, and it’s also the decibel level emitted by Apple headphones at 70 percent volume. Apple earphones produce noise at a startling 102 decibels when they’re on full blast. The noise of a jackhammer on a demolition site is roughly 102 dBA. Adult ears should only be exposed for 10 minutes per day. Imagine what this is doing to our children if exposed to it for several hours each day.
When it comes to loud sound, the usual rule of thumb is that the higher the volume, the shorter the permitted duration.
What Can We Do to Protect Our Children’s Ears?
Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, teacher or other guardian of children and teens, you can play a part in lowering the risk of hearing loss in young people . Take these steps to teach them about the necessity of good hearing habits.
Encourage others to be aware. If you have a family member who suffers from hearing loss, ask them to speak with your kid or teen about hearing loss and the significance of wearing hearing protection from an early age. There are also programs available that may be brought to schools, such as the Dangerous Decibels Program, which teaches children about the consequences of excessive loud exposure.
Teach the 60/60 Rule. The 60/60 rule goes like this: For up to 60 minutes per day, listen to music using earphones at only 60% of the volume. This helps to give their hearing a break from noise while also ensuring that the music they do hear isn’t too loud.
Keep an eye on the decibel levels of their mobile devices. On their mobile devices or tablets, parents can monitor their children’s activities in various ways. Did you know that there are apps that track noise exposure on devices that you may download? In this manner, you can keep track of your child’s decibel exposure and even give incentives for lower levels of exposure.
Replace their earbuds with headphones. Even though headphones deliver the same volume of sound to your child’s ears, the space between the eardrums can aid in safeguarding their hearing. Noise-caused hearing loss can occur in both headphones and earbuds, so be sure to follow the other procedures listed below.
Now you know the best way to protect your children from hearing loss, what about yourself? Contact us today for more information and to set up an appointment!