The topic of ‘hearing loss’ has been increasingly in the news as of late, in particular hearing loss among the youth and the elderly. However, an extremely important target audience is forgotten: children. When children are young, the hearing is extremely vulnerable, because a children’s ear can handle less than an adult ear. Therefore, it is essential to protect the hearing of your children as early as possible.
Studies into hearing loss
Over the past years, a number of studies have been carried out regarding hearing loss among children. A study of the Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung in Germany has demonstrated that 1 in 8 children is suffering from hearing loss and that boys hear even less than girls. An American study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association also clearly shows that hearing loss has increased greatlyamong children and young people. In addition, a study of the Antwerp University shows that three in four children suffers from occasional ringing ears, and that this effect is permanent (tinnitus) in one in five.
Causes of hearing loss
The causes of hearing loss among children are mainly to be found in all ambient noise ant toys. Think about the mount of noises to which we are exposed on a daily basis. One even louder than the other. Car horns, loud railway crossings, sirens, lawnmowers, speakers etc. Children from socially deprived families suffer the most in this regard.
But at home, the TV and other electronic devices can produce a lot of decibels as well. Another risk is formed by toys equipped with all kinds of bells and whistles. Of course, children love toys that make noise, but this has major consequences. Because studies have shown that toys can render the child deaf. The somewhat older children in particular, risk damage caused by the MP3 player and the cellphones, since they allow them to listen to extremely loud music. These MP3 players and cellphones can cause permanent hearing loss.
Another trend is that festivals are more and more accessible to families with children, and that there is an increasing amount of big events for teenagers. However, these also pose risks to children. Especially when they are on their parent’s shoulders allowing them to see better. Because as they rise above the other audience, they are also exposed to more noise.
Consequences of hearing loss
Hearing loss among children is something that occurs gradually, but the consequences of hearing loss often don’t become evident until the child grows older. If they suffer from hearing loss due to noise, they may have problems focusing, insomnia and stress. Moreover, children who suffer from hearing loss that are not given treatment, are often impeded in their language development. In addition a study from the airport in Munich shows that children that are often exposed to excessive ambient noise, have sleeping issues, higher blood pressure and secrete more stress hormones.
Tips to prevent hearing loss
A recent American study shows that 96% of the parents are not aware of the risks their child runs due to excessive noise. It is important to protect the hearing of children, because children are exposed to too much excessive noise. Therefore, please take these five tips for protecting the hearing of your children to heart.
|1||Alpine MuffyProtect the hearing of the children during major events, festivals, sports events, the carnival and all other sound scenes with the Alpine Muffy. The Alpine Muffy are ear protectors, specially developed for children.|
|2||Limit the volumeLoud noise damages the hearing of children more easily than it does with adults. Therefore, it is wise to keep the volume of the TV, MP3 players and / or the computer / iPad in check. Lower the volume to pleasant levels. Another good option is purchasing noise absorbing earplugs/headphones. These devices contain a convenient noise limiter which protects the children from hearing too loud noises.|
|3||Check toysAlways check the sound-generating toys with a decibel meter, to see what the maximum volume of the toys is. Should the toys be producing too loud noise, it is pretty much essential to get rid of it. Children may have grown attached to the toy, but in that case it is wise to mount a noise limiter onto it, or to remove the batteries, so that they can play without risking their ears.|
|4||Good hygieneChildren are very susceptible to ear infections, since their hearing canal is smaller. Therefore, it is important to regularly clean their ears. It is important that you remember not to use cotton swabs, since this may harm the ear drums. Wash the ear with warm water and a washcloth.|
|5||Practicing and testingBe alert to the hearing of your children at all times. Talk about it and explain to them how their hearing works. Make sure they tell you as soon as they notice something unusual about their hearing. There are plenty of hearing tests, specially developed for children/young people, which can be used to test their hearing. Or you can turn it into a game, for instance: ‘I hear what you can’t see’. Close the eyes and listen to all the sounds with your children.|