Hearing loss is always assumed to be either something that’s been there since birth, or an effect of old age. And yet, nearly 15% of school-age children aged 6-19 have some degree of hearing loss. If that number seems high to you, you’re probably asking yourself, “why is that the case?”. Some of that hearing loss is due to medical conditions or injury, but by and large, the reason is lifestyle factors.
The number one reason? According to an article in the Journal of Pediatrics, 12.5% of kids between the ages of 6 and 19 have hearing loss as a result of listening to loud music, particularly through earbuds at unsafe volumes.
For parents, it can be hard to bring up the possibility of hearing loss to their children and give advice on how to avoid it. Here are some tips for talking with your child and dealing with the issue:
- Explain what hearing loss is (including the statistics above) and let them know that hearing loss can affect their academic, professional, and private lives.
- Offer to buy them a pair of over-the-ear headphones, which transmit sound much more efficiently than earbuds and therefore don’t have to be turned up as loud to get the same effect.
- Advise them to try to never exceed 75% volume on any of their devices as a safeguard against going too loud and potentially damaging their hearing
- When you’re around them, pay attention to whether you can hear the music coming out of their headphones. If so, the music is too loud.
- If they plan to attend a concert or sporting event, provide them with earplugs that can help protect their hearing. Let them know that at concerts, standing in the middle of the room tends to have the most balanced sound levels because you aren’t right in front of the speakers.
If you suspect that your child may already have hearing loss, it’s important to address the issue right away before it has a chance to interfere with their academics and social life.
Have a question about your child and hearing loss? Reach out to us today to set up an appointment!