Teens Hearing & Noise Levels

Men wearing ear defendersDid you know that May is Better Speech & Hearing Month? A child’s hearing is delicate and very important. “According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, one in five adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 shows a hearing loss.”

Such hearing loss could possibly be due to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) a loss resulting from earbuds or headphones at unsafe volumes. Fortunately NIHL is preventable if you use protective head gear. The challenge comes in getting younger children and even teens to use the gear every time they want to listen to music.

A large variety of volume-limiting headphones and earbuds have been created to help ensure that listening is safe for children and teens. Samples of ear gear that tops out at 85 dB, a safe level of listening, offering safety includes Califone SoundAlert Headphones ($86), Griffin Technology Crayola MyPhones ($25), Kidz Gear KidzControl ($20-30), and the SMS Audio KidzSafe line of D.I.Y. Earbuds ($20) or D.I.Y Headphones ($30).

In 2010 children’s hearing protection gear seemed to go worldwide when the 1-year old son of pro football player Drew Brees was shown wearing Peltor earmuffs after Brees and the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl. Noise protection products usually list a noise reduction rating (NRR), and used properly, a product with an NRR 12 can offer a 20dB reduction. How is the NRR obtained you may ask? A standard formula measuring the potential of achievable protection is used as a guideline on decibel reduction.

Earplugs for older, more responsible children are important when they attend concerts or sporting events. They may not be in agreement but models with flanges will limit volume, but still give music and speech a clear sound. They basically have a lower NRR than earplugs made out of foam or silicone. You should also look for earplugs with flatter attenuation. This will equally reduce the sound.

“Most earplugs reduce high frequencies more than low, resulting in a muffled sound quality,”  says Joscelyn Martin, Au.D., an instructor in audiology at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Parents should also lead by example and use earplugs to mow the lawn, watch sporting events and during other loud, noisy events. Earplugs range in price from $9 to $30, yet they all provide hearing protection when properly fitted.

Written by: Jamacia Magee, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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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:


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.


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.


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

Written by: Jamacia Magee, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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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The Effect of Hearing Loss on a Child’s Development

1_KidThe relationship between hearing and development of communications skills has long been recognized, but the developmental issues caused by that lack of communication skills goes deeper than simply speech and language. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)*, hearing loss can be at the root of such things as poor academic achievement, poor self-esteem, and may factor into career choices. Specifically, these things are impacted due to:


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Pixmac000080239011Ear buds are the latest fashion, inserted inside the ears. Today’s kids have grown up with them, but they’re really a new fad, and most kids don’t realize their dangers. These marvels don’t cancel out surrounding noise. The result is that they turn up the volume to hear the tunes. Danger, warning…..this is just the way to damage hearing, for a lifetime. Permanent hearing loss is no small deal. Not to worry though, there are simple ways to help prevent kids’ hearing damage from ear buds.

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