Baby and toddler ears are extremely vulnerable. They develop substantially during the first few years of your child's life. Parents often expose their children to loud noise without being aware that it can cause permanent hearing damage.
German research shows that one in eight children suffers from this. ENT specialists have also reported seeing an increasing number of young children with hearing damage in their waiting rooms. Many parents aren't aware that this is something to be aware of, nor do they know how to prevent it. Avoiding loud noise is the most sensible course of action, but it isn't always possible. That's why parents need to take steps to ensure that their young ones can experience the joy of sound throught their lives.
What is too loud?
Decibles are measured on a logarithmic scale. This means that the amount your ears are damaged is based on both the noise level, as well as the amount of time you're exposed to it. Sounds of 80 decibels (comparable to a busy road) can be harmful if you are exposed to it for more than eight hours. Every 3 additional decibels cuts the time you can ‘safely’ stay there in half. This means you can remain in an environment with 83 decibels unprotected for four hours without risking hearing damage. This becomes 2 hours at 86 dB, one hour at 89 dB, and half an hour at 92 dB. Sounds above 110 dB are so loud that they can cause damage immediately. Things like electric tools, fireworks, or festivals exceed this number on a regular basis.
Causes of hearing loss in babies and toddlers
The main causes of hearing loss in young children are ambient sounds and toys. We are exposed to a great deal of sound every day, such as honking cars, crowds, sirens, etc. We also have softer ambient noise generators at home, such as TVs, fridges, and microwaves.
Research shows that toys which produce sounds are a well-known cause of hearing loss in small children. Researchers found toys that reached noise levels of well over 100 decibels. Children who find those sounds interesting, and lack knowledge of this being harmful tend to pick up the sources of noise, and bring them closer to their ears while exploring with their senses. This can exacerbate the issue, seeing how bringing the source of the noise can accelerate hearing damage.
Parents who are unaware of how damaging noise can be also put their children at risk. Taking your child out to a festival such as Guy Fawkes day, New Years eve fireworks, or to a parade can leave a lasting impact on their ears. Events like those tend to have loud music, in addition to many other sources of noise.
When is hearing protection for babies and toddlers needed?
In situations like:
- When you take your kid to an event with a lot of noise. Such as a festival, parade, carnival, (wedding) party, sports events or motor races.
- When you do chores at home which produce a lot of noise, such as drilling, grinding, or mowing the lawn
- At a sport event, such as a sibling's football match
Noise sensitivity and overstimulation
A lot of babies and toddlers are startled easily by loud noises. There are also babies who are noticeably prone to becoming overstimulated. Hearing protection can calm your child and provide them peace. Cutting off all noise is not healthy for your child, but using hearing protection made for them can help them while their hearing is developing.
Hearing protection for the littlest ones
Alpine has created the Muffy Baby- the only CE-certified baby earmuff in Europe- to help parents protect their little ones. These earmuffs reduce harmful noise using multiple layers of isolating foam.
The Muffy Baby ensures that a child can sleep peacefully in noisy situations. It's convenient for travelling, taking your kid to loud public locations, or even when doing loud chores at home. It also doesn't contain any metal parts, making it convenient for MRI scans!
How do you use the earmuffs?
The Alpine Muffy Baby is designed fits all babies or toddlers. The soft, adjustable, and elastic velcro strap has been developed to sit firmly on the head without restricting it. You can easily slide the earmuffs on the strap and secure them at the right place with a click. The Alpine Muffy Baby is suitable for children to 5 years old. For older children, there is the Alpine Muffy Kids and the Alpine Pluggies.
The Alpine Muffy Baby has been designed and developed in the Netherlands, just like the other Alpine products. The earmuff meets all EU requirements for products. They also look super cute on your baby! The white with light grey earmuffs are made of a sturdy plastic, while the sound-reducing foam is hygienic and easy to clean. The head strap is also machine washable!