Noise induced hearing loss happens as a result of exposure to harmful noise, not discriminating because of age. Hearing loss in teenagers is 30% higher today than it was in the 1980s/1990s. Damage to hearing is often “hidden” until it is too late to prevent it.
Look for teachable moments about hearing health and safety with your children. In loud situations – passing road workers using a jackhammer – talk about how loud the sound is and how the workers should be wearing ear protection. Model good hearing health by wearing ear protection when operating noisy machinery, avoid going into very noisy places such as gaming arcades and turn down your music in the car and at home.
Noise is too loud, when:
• You raise your voice to be heard
• You can’t hear someone 3 feet away from you
• Speech around you sounds muffled or dull after you leave the noisy area
• You have pain or ringing in your ears after exposure to noise
Tips to protect children’s hearing health:
• Listen to music through good quality earbuds or headphones at no more than 60% of the volume for no more than 60 mins.
• Wear earplugs during noisy sporting activities such as hunting, shooting and dirt-biking
• Lower the sound setting on the cellphone
• Avoid purchasing noisy toys like cap guns, talking dolls, vehicles with horns and sirens, walkie-talkies, musical instruments, and toys with cranks.
• Remove batteries or discard toys if they are too noisy. Some parents place heavy duct tape over speakers on noisy toys.
Heidi Allan, Audiologist at Reconnect