Children Develop Hearing Loss, Too

Here are some tips on how to prevent it.

Hearing loss isn’t just for “old people.” The ability to hear can be damaged at any age, so it’s never too early to start protecting a child’s hearing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 34 million children  worldwide have a disabling level of hearing loss, with 60% of those cases being due to preventable causes.

Start before your baby is born.

Infectious diseases are a notorious cause of hearing loss. Women planning to become pregnant should immediately make sure they have been vaccinated against rubella and screened for any other medical conditions that
could affect an unborn baby. 

Be vigilant about your child’s vaccinations.
Be sure to immunize children, in consultation with your pediatrician, against such diseases as measles, meningitis, rubella and mumps, all of which have the potential to cause hearing loss.

Don’t ignore earaches.
Earaches, known in medical terms as otitis media, aren’t uncommon—but that doesn’t mean they should be ignored until they go away. Infections of the middle ear, should they become chronic and/or recurring, have the potential to damage the mechanisms of the middle and inner ear. If your child gets an earache, talk to your pediatrician about treatment.

Monitor your child’s sound exposure.

There’s a lot of sound in the lives of contemporary children, and much of it is experienced at very close quarters. And it’s not just earphones and earbuds:

Test their toys.

Like so many things, there’s an app for that. You can find free sound meters online. When you find one you’d like to use, measure the volume of your child’s toys for anything putting out 85 or more decibels. If you  discover overly-loud toys, you can either get rid of them, disable the sound (e.g., take out the batteries) or look into ways of covering the toy’s speaker in a way that allows sound through but not at a dangerous volume.

Keep your home hearing-friendly

Make sure you know just how loud the TV volume is in your house and adjust it to safe levels; the same goes for any speakers the family uses for video games and music entertainment.

Be hearing-friendly outside, too.
If your child is old enough for household chores like lawn mowing and leaf blowing, be sure he or she wears ear protection while working. Lawn equipment can easily go beyond the 85-decibel threshold       for potentially damaging volume.

Definitely listen to their earphones/earbuds.
While direct-into-the-ear sound isn’t the only potentially dangerous sound in a child’s life, it’s a big potential source of it. When your child is listening to music or podcasts, ask him or her to let intense, adjust it to a reasonable level, test it, and then return the earphones/earbuds with instructions to keep the volume at the level you’ve set.

Those are just a few thoughts on protecting hearing during childhood. Take a look at your family’s life and see if there are any unique activities or situations that may be contributing to noise exposure or other risks to
hearing, such as trauma that can be avoided through the wearing of appropriate protective gear.

If you’d like to discuss childhood hearing loos prevention in more detail, please contact us. We’ll be happy to have a through discussion and recommend hearing protection techniques and equipment for you.