5 Tips to Prevent Hearing LossSeptember 26th, 2012 | Posted by in At Childrens | Parenting | Research
With the proliferation of smart phones, portable gaming systems and media players, more children—especially teenagers—are listening to ear buds and headphones at dangerously high volume levels. Vanderbilt is offering tips to parents and teenagers to help prevent long-term hearing loss.
Hearing loss now affects 20 percent of U. S. adolescents between ages 12 and 19, a 5 percent increase over the previous 15 years, according to a study led by Vanderbilt’s Dr. Roland Eavey and published in Journal of the American Medical Association.
A separate study by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association found that teenagers typically listen to devices at a louder volume than adults, and that these same teenagers already have symptoms of hearing loss.
Listening to devices with levels over 80 decibels for extended periods of time may be potentially dangerous because prolonged exposure to high volume exhausts the auditory system. Over time, the hair cells in the ear start to degenerate because they aren’t receiving proper blood flow and oxygen.
Here are 5 tips to prevent hearing loss:
- If you can hear sound coming from your child’s headphones while he or she is wearing them, the volume is too loud.
- Follow the “60/60 rule,” which means using only 60 percent of the device’s volume level for no more than 60 minutes at a time. After 60 minutes, give your ears a break for at least an hour.
- Invest in high-quality, “noise cancelling” headphones that cover the entire ear. Ear buds allow more background noise to seep in, so children often turn up the volume to compensate.
- Use hearing protection such as custom-made ear plugs. These can be used while playing music, attending concerts or in other loud environments like movie theaters and firework shows.
- Set volume restrictions on your child’s personal electronic devices.