As the school year winds down, many teens are probably starting to anticipate summer fun with friends, hanging out at the beach, vacations with family and, of course, no homework. What they are probably not thinking about is the importance of protecting their hearing. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reports that recent studies have found that one in six adolescents have high frequency hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is caused by exposure to loud noises and many believe the rise in headphone and earbud use may be part of the problem.

Frequent exposure to sounds over 85 decibels has been shown overtime to damage our hearing. An article on Consumer Reports related that many users of headphones and earbuds actually listen to music at around 100 decibels. Just as we protect our skin with sunscreen, so to should we protect our ears and hearing to reduce the risks down the road of permanent damage.

What are some ways parents can talk about hearing protection with their kids?

  • What is too loud? If you can hear your child’s music than their earbuds or headphones definitely have the volume on too loud. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the 60% rule. Make sure the volume is set at approximately 60% of maximum volume or less
  • Length of exposure. Make sure the child takes a break or rest from earbud use. In fact the AAP recommends just 60 minutes of use per day
  • Be a role model. Make hearing protection part of your routine
  • Ear protection. When you child is off to a concert or sporting event encourage them to bring a pair of discreet ear plugs… and extras for their friends

It can be difficult to convince teens to take precautions for problems that cam seem far off in the future. Keep the conversation open and ongoing to continue to build their awareness and hopefully they too will see the value in protecting their hearing.

If you suspect that your child has hearing damage, we encourage you to schedule a hearing test to learn more.