Children in Katy, Texas and throughout the country are at an ever growing risk of developing hearing loss. In fact, the number of Americans with hearing loss has actually doubled within the past 30 years. This is most likely caused by the increase in use of personal music players.
Noise-induced hearing loss is a real concern if your children use personal music players. How do you decide if something is too loud? Sounds are measured in decibels (dB). Listening to something over 85 dB (heavy city traffic) can cause damage after eight hours. Listening to something over 100 db (motorcycle) can cause damage after 15 minutes. Listening to something over 120 dB (jackhammer) can cause damage immediately.
Audiologists have been actively doing research in order to determine the link between personal music players and noise-induced hearing loss. One study found that about 25 percent of those who use a personal music player are exposed to a daily noise level that is high enough to cause permanent damage. A 2010 study found that a pair of standard earbuds connected to an iPod set to its maximum volume can produce an average sound level of 96 dB. That is actually higher than what is legally allowed in most workplaces. Another study of adolescents found that 90 percent listen to music using earbuds; almost half listened at a high-volume setting.
The best way to reduce noise-induced hearing loss? Turn the music down. If this is not specific enough, your Today’s Hearing audiologist recommends using the 60/60 rule. This rule states that you should listen to music at 60 percent of the volume for no more than 60 minutes a day. Researchers determined that this volume for this length of time will not cause any harm to one’s hearing.
Since we all know how great children are at following simple directions (when’s the time they turned the television off after the first time you asked?) below are some tips your audiologists thinks may help.
- Replace in-ear bud-style headphones with over-the-ear models.
- Set a sound limit. Most music players have a parental setting, which is saved with a password. This program will enable you to set a listening limit.
- Purchase kid-safe headphones. There are many headphones on the market specifically designed for children. These headphones have a lower-than-normal maximum volume level.
If you need any additional help figuring out how to protect your child , contact your local Today’s Hearing audiologist at (281) 578-7500. They can provide you with more helpful tips and tricks to talk to your kids about the importance of proper ear care.