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If you grew up before the invention of portable music players, you probably did not spend much time wearing headphones. You might have put a set of hearing into a record player or radio, but those moments of personal pleasure were usually fleeting. Even if you grew up with portable cassettes or CD players, you were unlikely to listen to music all day with headphones.
Today, the availability of portable media such as movies, television, podcasts, and music via a smartphone or laptop has dramatically boosted the incidence of headphone use, which is not limited to adults. Young people use headphones at alarmingly high rates, and such headphones and earbuds pose a severe danger of hearing damage. Consider the most typical uses of headphones for children, as well as the dangers that loud sounds, deafening volumes for extended periods, can pose to their developing ears.
When children or young people use headphones or earbuds, they do so for a variety of reasons. Some people listen to music or the soundtrack for a social media video, and others watch a short video on YouTube, which could be only a few minutes long. On the other hand, young people might be exposed to audio for long periods when they use headphones and earbuds for gaming, watching full movies or television shows, or even educational programs such as distance learning.
We know that not only is the noise level a significant problem for those who wear headphones, but that the length of time spent wearing them significantly raises the risk of hearing loss. Take, for example, the widely used Apple music player for the iPhone. The device’s maximum volume is 102 dB. This volume is similar to that of a leaf blower, and it can only be used for a short period before inflicting irreversible hearing loss.
According to experts, using an iPhone at a total volume for more than 10 minutes is dangerous. Although a volume level of 70% usually is acceptable for a whole 8-hour period, the hazards grow dramatically at that decibel level. The smartphone should only be used for 90 minutes at 80 percent volume, which corresponds to a decibel level of 89 dB. That threshold of time can easily be crossed when a young person views a feature-length film or participates in online learning educational activities.
Hearing Protection for Children
When it comes to hearing loss caused by noise, recent research indicates that it is usually permanent. Even though new technologies are being explored and developed daily, none have successfully restored hearing after it has been lost due to hearing loss.
It is critical to manage headphones’ length and loudness to help your child protect their hearing skills into adulthood. Parents have used a variety of strategies to ensure that their children are safe. Through accompanying apps, some people can keep track of how loud their devices are. Software developers are even working on parental controls that allow parents to set a maximum volume on their children’s devices.
Monitoring the time of use is, nevertheless, one of the most important measures to explore. It’s easy to lose track of how long your child has been wearing headphones or earbuds, especially since you can’t hear what’s happening inside or how loud the noise has been. Set some guidelines for when headphones or earbuds should be used.
If your child is doing distance learning, you may want to insist on utilizing external speakers only to feel how long the programming has been going on. Setting an external speaker at a dangerous volume without raising the alarm is more difficult.
Whatever approach you use to safeguard your children’s hearing, it’s critical to stay watchful and don’t forget to protect your own. Keep an eye on the time and the noise level to preserve your hearing. It’s easy to become engaged in media or music, especially if you’re binge-watching a television show.
If you think you already have hearing loss, we can help. Contact us today to set up an appointment.