What Are The Dangers of iPod Use in Youth?

4278457135_9658776c39_qListening to music at unsafe volumes for extensive lengths of times can cause hearing damage. Here are some answers to questions you may have about the risks your child or teenager might be exposed to. We found an article from Hearing Health that had a lot of great information about the risks involved.

These devices are used by kids for socializing, videos, games, music, reading, studying and much more. Although each of these things is positive, there is one potential danger area for kids — unlimited Internet access through Wi-Fi or a carrier network.

Noise may not be an issue parents often consider as a threat in their children and adolescent’s life. Like anything else, in moderation it is fine, but overexposure can put your kids at serious risk.

A 2010 report in the Journal of the Medical Association shocked the nation when people learned that kids in the age groups of 12-19 had suffered hearing loss by over a third of what it had in the past decade.

Here are some common questions surrounding these findings:

How does hearing affect babies?

The surprising answer is that it’s likely they hear better than you or I. Just like skin and other body parts, exposure to nature will diminish the ability to hear.   When your grandfather leans in and asks you to repeat your story he may genuinely be struggling with natural hearing loss over years of different exposure. Things like vacuum’s and household appliances may seem to keep them captive, but they actually hurt your children’s ears. Keep them away from loud appliances when you can!

Is there a genetic connection that may make some kids more susceptible than others to hearing loss?

Some low weight fetus’ or pre-term babies have developed a correlation with hearing loss early on. More problems can develop and make them more at risk in the future with these problems.

How does loud noise actually affect hearing?

Some of the cells on the inner ear convert sound to wave energy to the brain. When the hair cells die, that results in permanent hearing loss to the brain.

When is sound too loud?

There are multiple apps (most costing only a dollar or so) that will tell you exactly what level is acceptable to be listening at.

When should your child be wearing ear protection?

Earmuffs are great for smaller children, but be careful when looking for sizes. It’s important to get the right size. With ear buds in older children, limit the time that is used daily, no more than a few hours.

When should ear protection be used?

A lot of this boils down to common sense. A concert, a race track, etc. Any situation where sound level measurement is a 90 dba level or higher.

Resource Article: Hearing Health: The Dangers of iPod Use

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Tips For Parents of Children With Hearing Loss

hearing-loss-children-610x250Hearing loss at any age can be problematic, but for a child born with hearing loss the problems are compounded. The inability to hear can cause many developmental delays, including the ability to communicate. This delay can cause its own list of difficulties, such as poor academic achievement, poor self-esteem, and may factor into career choices.

Specifically, these things are impacted due to the following:

VOCABULARY

Children with hearing loss experience slower vocabulary development. They often experience difficulty with abstract words such as before and after, function words such as the and are, and multi-meaning words such as bank (a place for money or the edge of a stream).

SENTENCE STRUCTURE

Children with hearing loss typically understand and use shorter sentences. They have trouble speaking and understanding longer, more complex sentences. Many also cannot hear words ending in s or ed, which leads to grammatical difficulties.

SPEECH

Since many kids with hearing loss do not hear certain sounds, those sounds do not become part of their vocabularies, making words that include those sounds hard to recognize. In addition, since many of them cannot hear their own voices they may not be aware that they are speaking too loudly, too softly, or are mumbling.

SCHOOL

Non-hearing students experience an increased number of challenges in school, specifically in the areas of reading and mathematical concepts. It’s not unusual for them to be performing at substantially lower grade levels than their hearing peers.

SOCIAL FUNCTIONING

Many non-hearing children report feelings of isolation and of not having friends, due to a hearing loss related inability to socialize. (www.asha.org/public/hearing/disorders/effects.htm)

There are things that we can do for our children to lessen the effect that their hearing loss has on their lives, the first of which is to recognize the signs and then get help. The signs may range from an infant that does not startle at the sound of an unexpected noise, to an older infant who does not respond to familiar voices or react when spoken to, to toddlers that don’t use single words by 15 months and simple two word sentences by the age of 2, or a school aged child that falls behind his/her classmates academically.

If you notice any of these, a trip to the doctor for testing should be scheduled. Once this has occurred, there are 4 things a parent can do:

  1. Understand that a hearing aid will not restore the child’s hearing, but it will improve the quality of the child’s life.
  2. Get involved. Ask questions. Speak with your child’s doctors, teachers, audiologists, and any other professional involved with your child regarding your child’s development and quality of life.
  3. Love, accept, and encourage your child.
  4. Smile at him/her often. We all love a smile, but it can be even more meaningful to a child with hearing loss. (http://www.oticon.com)

Written by: Tricia Doane, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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