The Importance of Hearing
The importance of hearing cannot be understated. Hearing well is essential to many tasks in the modern world, including driving, speaking, learning, and more. Children who are hard of hearing may have a harder time in school, as they will find it more difficult than other children to learn vocabulary, grammar, word order, colloquialisms, and other important communication skills and information.
You must emphasize to your children the importance of hearing. It should be something that is valued and protected. Hearing loss is cumulative, but when the damage is done, its done. There is no going back, no reversal. Teach your child that loud noises can harm his or her ears over time. Also remember that children have shorter ear canals, meaning that loud noises damage their ears more easily. Teach children to value ear protection, to use ear protection methods, and to avoid loud noises whenever possible.
What is too loud? Sound is measured in decibels (dBs). Any sound over 80 dBs or so can result in hearing damage in adults, and even more so for children. For children, hearing damage may occur at an lower decibel rate. To give you context, the average dishwasher runs at a noise level of about 60 dB.
Hearing Protection Tips
-Turn down the volume whenever possible. From the TV to the stereo, you can slowly train your family to listen to media at lower noise levels. You don’t have to blast surround system sound just because you have it, for example. Generally lowering noise levels of electronics and other objects will greatly benefit your family in the long run.
-Buy ear protectors. Ear plugs and other forms of ear protection are easy to use, easy to carry around, and cheap. In other words, there is no reason not to use them. Have your child wear ear protection whenever they will be exposed to loud noises, whether it’s everyday city noises or special occasions such as fireworks.
-React to sudden noise. Teach your children to react to sudden noise. If an unexpected sound such as a loud siren comes around, instruct them to put their fingers in their ears or cover their ears in some fashion.
-Get rid of or silence loud toys. Toys with sound can be fun for children, but they can get excessively noisy. Turn off the sound on toys and buy soundless ones in the future. Flashing lights and interactive components provide enough stimulation in a toy—sound is not necessary.
-Take ear infections seriously. Ear infections are not only uncomfortable, but can lead to ear damage. Take ear infections seriously and treat them properly. If you expect your child has an ear infection, or if they are facing any kind of irritation in their ear, bring them to your CapPed doctor right away to get it checked out.
-Be mindful of noise levels in the house. Warn your children when you’re vacuuming or engaging in a noisy activity, and keep them out of the room, if possible. All members of the family should wear hearing protection when engaging in activities using loud tools, machinery, etc.
-Limit headphone time. Kids these days seem to be plugged into their headphones. Try to limit headphone time to a maximum of a few hours a day. If your child needs to listen to music for concentration, encourage relaxing, low-volume classical or background music that can be played over a speaker.
-Be a role model. “Do as I do.” The best thing you can do for your child is to be a role model for them. Value your own hearing, and use the protection methods outlined above yourself. Insist that your child do the same. Smaller children especially will naturally follow in your footsteps, wanting to do what you do. Make hearing protection a priority for your family.