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Protecting Your Kids’ Ears: Tips For Parents

Pixmac000080239011Age related hearing loss, once expected to be the norm as you get older, has become a growing concern as the number of younger people with hearing loss is rapidly rising. “Every day, we experience sound in our environment, such as the sounds from television and radio, household appliances, and traffic.

Normally, we hear these sounds at safe levels that do not affect our hearing. However, when we are exposed to harmful noise—sounds that are too loud or loud sounds that last a long time—sensitive structures in our inner ear can be damaged, causing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). These sensitive structures, called hair cells, are small sensory cells that convert sound energy into electrical signals that travel to the brain. Once damaged, our hair cells cannot grow back (Noise Induced Hearing Loss, October 2008).”

In children, some common causes of hearing loss are congenital (exist at birth), whereas other causes result from injury and illness. For example, most children, without realizing the long-term damage, like to watch television and listen to really loud music for long periods of time.

A teachable moment can present itself anywhere, at any time. If you enter an environment with potentially damaging noise levels and you actively protect your child’s hearing, this is a teachable moment. Children learn by example and it’s up to you to show your child the way. It is believed that at least 5 million children under age 19 have some percentage of damage to their hearing due to loud noise. According to Morlet (2012), “If someone is exposed to loud noise over a long period of time, like every day, permanent hearing loss can occur. This means the person’s hearing won’t ever be as good as it once was.”

If you want to protect your kids’ hearing and help reduce the risk of noise induced hearing loss, start by following these easy tips:

Awareness

As the adult, it is your duty to educate your kids about the body/body parts, including the ears, their hearing, and why it’s so important to guard against noise to prevent hearing loss.

Precaution

During your talk, help your child understand how important it is to take precautions to protect their hearing. Remind them to turn down the volume on the radio, especially when they wear headphones or earbuds, and when watching television.

Protection

If your child attends a concert, have him/her wear earplugs to protect their hearing.

Written by: Jamacia Magee, FizzNiche Staff Writer

References:
1. Noisy Planet (n.d.). It’s A Noisy Planet Protect Their Hearing. Retrieved from http://www.noisyplanet.nidcd.nih.gov/parents/Pages/Default.aspx 
2. Noisy Planet (2008, October). Noise Induced Hearing Loss. Retrieved from http://www.noisyplanet.nidcd.nih.gov/info/Pages/whatisnihl.aspx
3. KidsHealth (last reviewed 2012, May). Can Loud Music Hurt My Ears. Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org/kid/talk/qa/rock_music.html

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