While listening to loud music has always been part of life, especially for children and teens, today with the advent of smart phones and tablets, children have more choices from music to games and video – all mostly accessed with headphones or earbuds. All this choice means that children can find themselves using headphones and earbuds frequently.

Healthline published an interesting article about headphones and the hearing risk they pose to our children and teens. In the article these insights were shared:

  • 40 million adults younger than 70 years old have lost some hearing due to noise exposure (Centers for Disease Control)
  • Children who used music players in a Netherland study had reduced ability to hear high-frequency sounds than the children who didn’t use music players (JAMA Network)
  • A portable music player with stock headphones can reach over 100 decibels (Dangerous Decibels)

Prolonged exposure to noise at 85 decibels and above can damage hearing. Noise exposure definitely poses a risk to our long term hearing health. Unfortunately, most hearing loss is not immediate and is not noticed until after the damage has occurred. With headphone and earbud use becoming a regular part of many of our children’s daily lives it is important to educated them about the risks and what they can do to protect their hearing.

First, turn the volume down. Make sure your children do not listen at more than 60% of the maximum volume. It is also recommended to use noise-canceling headphones instead of earbuds. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association earbuds often allow more background noise to enter the ear which often leads to users turning the volume up. Make sure your children incorporate regular quiet time or a listening break and limit overall their use of headphones and earbuds. Finally, you should also incorporate regular hearing exams into your child’s healthcare routine.