The majority of parents are constantly on the lookout for new tips to protect the health of our children. However, the most significant concerns are usually allergies, eating habits, and media usage. But what about their hearing? Our children are today exposed to an increasing number of external stimuli which we cannot always control. Yet, instilling the notion to respect their hearing early on can prevent them from having to deal with other conditions later in life.
How Loud is Too Loud?
While we might not all be sound technicians and noise-level experts, it is a good idea to learn what is safe to expose our children to and what is not. Hence, here are some facts to keep in mind when devising a method to protect your kid’s hearing.
- You can consider sounds below 70dBA safe. However, long exposures to this noise level can be just as harmful, if not regulated.
- For comparison, listening through your headphones at 70% of their full capacity delivers a sound of around 85dBA
- If listening to noises above these guidelines, limit usage to 15 minutes
If you are not sure how loud is a noisy environment or media, download sound-level meter apps. Through such tools, you can even set the maximum volume level on your kids’ headphones or devices.
Teach Your Kids To Look After Their Hearing
While we insist on limiting the time spent in front of the TV, on YouTube, or on Social Media to protect our kids’ eyesight, we might be forgetting about their hearing. This mistake is universal. Yet, teaching them the importance of respecting and protecting their hearing can avoid them having to resort to medical treatments later in life.
Luckily, today, hearing restoration techniques can reverse the damage caused by excessive exposure, blockages, and infections. However, prevention can be an easy solution to guarantee the functioning of your kids’ hearing.
Some useful exercises to sensitize your kids regarding the importance of looking after their hearing include:
- Get them to share with you what their favourite sounds are
- Music classes and lessons
- Create games around listening to new sounds while in a park or among nature
Pick Headphones and Listening Devices Carefully
In a way or the other, we are regularly exposed to the noises and sounds produced by our phones, tablets, TV, or media channels. It can become complicated to control the noise level of each, the average exposure, or if they are being used correctly.
Indeed, headphones have been seen to be able to cause noise-induced hearing loss when not used correctly or at the right level. However, certain types of listening devices promote a better listening experience than others, while protecting the wellbeing of the hearing.
Here is what you need to keep into consideration when shopping for headphones:
- Noise-cancelling headphones cut off the sounds incoming from the external environment. They require lower volumes to provide a clear and audible sound.
- Output limiting headphones are an ideal choice for younger children who cannot self-regulate the volume. These listening devices offer you a unique piece of mind as they don’t allow listening to unsafe levels.
- Noise-isolating headphones also reduce background noise and allow you to listen to lower volumes.
Set Listening Rules
Two useful, easy-to-implement rules can help you look after your child’s hearing effortlessly.
- The 80/90 rule: this is the most common guideline for all listeners and refers to listening to only 80% of the volume capacity for 90 minutes only. Indeed, longer exposures to these sound levels, even if safe, can become harmful.
- The arm’s length rule: if you are not equipped with sound-level monitoring apps, other techniques can help you gauge if a volume level is safe or not. One of those is the arm’s length rule. If, while wearing headphones or listening to music, you can’t hear somebody speaking to you from the distance of an arm’s length.
Should You Consider Hearing Protection?
The rules and guidelines we have seen above can help you teach your kids the importance of looking after their hearing, as well as preventing excessive exposure to noise. However, not all environments are the same, and, in some cases, loud noises happen in public spaces, recreational areas, and even movie theatres.
If you believe your kids are exposed to such environments for too long or too often, you could opt to buy kids-friendly earmuffs and protections. In any case, it is recommendable to remove your little ones from a too-noisy situation as promptly as possible
Ultimately, implementing all these precautions can be even counterproductive if you are not ready to lead by example. Make sure the whole family is following the same guidelines to encourage respect for the sounds and hearing sense.