Our child’s hearing is something we often take for granted. As the popular saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Because we can’t see the workings of the inner ears of our child, we’re usually not immediately aware if their hearing has been damaged.
Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by environmental noise and this can happen to both babies and older children. It’s important that we take measures to protect our child’s hearing early on in life. The good news is that noise-induced hearing loss is completely preventable, with knowledge and the right tools.
Effects of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss has significant effects on children. The earlier the hearing loss occurs in a child’s life, the more it can cause problems down the line. The effects can be serious and can affect various areas of your child’s life, including family life. Major effects of hearing loss are:
- Delays in speech and language, resulting in communication difficulties with others, including family members
- Learning problems due to language deficiency
- Socialization problems and having low self-esteem due to speech and language difficulties
These have wide-reaching effects on a child’s life. If hearing loss is not treated early, children might experience problems in school, frustration from being misunderstood, and self-isolation. They might have problems making friends and getting along with classmates.
These are serious issues that should not be taken lightly. It should also be noted that social problems usually happen to children with mild or moderate hearing loss, not profound or severe hearing loss. If your once friendly and easygoing child begins to become more withdrawn and introverted, it’s important to check if his hearing has been impaired.
Noise-induced hearing loss can happen both gradually or suddenly, depending on the type of noise and length of exposure. Like anything related to the health and safety of our children, prevention is always better than cure. Parents should be aware of how to prevent noise-induced hearing loss to prevent future problems.
How To Protect Your Child’s Hearing
It’s important that you know what kinds of noise can damage your child’s hearing and protect your child’s hearing from excessively loud noises and environments.
There are various levels of noise, ranging from safe, unsafe, and dangerously loud levels. Safe levels are noise that are 85 decibels and below. To give an example, normal conversation is 60 decibels, while whispering is about half that or 30 decibels. Common household appliances like a blender or food processor are about 80-90 decibels.
The goal when it comes to protecting your child’s hearing is to protect their hearing when surrounded by unsafe and dangerously loud levels. As mentioned above, being exposed to noise that is 85 decibels and louder can cause sudden or gradual hearing loss. Busy restaurants, subways, and toys with loud sounds are about 85-100 decibels.
Dangerously loud levels are 110 decibels and above like firecrackers, jet engines, and car stereos and portable music players turned up to maximum levels. Any exposure to dangerously loud levels for more than one-minute long can instantly cause hearing loss in your child.
The best way to protect your child’s hearing is to know and understand when hearing protection is necessary. Baby earmuffs offer the best protection for a baby’s hearing because they reduce the level of environmental noise that reaches your child’s ears.. You might need them only once, for a special occasion, or they might be something you’ll need regularly, depending on your specific situation. Not all earmuffs are created equal, so for babies and young children baby earmuffs that are specifically designed for them work best.
When to use hearing protection
When you know that you will be bringing your baby or toddler to an environment with unsafe or dangerously loud levels of noise, like a New Year’s Eve fireworks display or a beloved grandmother’s milestone birthday party at a busy restaurant, for example, baby hearing protection is a must. Not only do they protect and preserve your child’s hearing, baby earmuffs also give parents peace of mind, knowing that his hearing is protected.
Having your baby or toddler wear earmuffs can also minimize disruptions in daily routines. For example, if your grandmother’s 90th birthday runs later than bedtime, baby earmuffs will allow your child to stay comfortable and even fall asleep with the party happening all around her. If you’re unsure of what level of noise your baby will be encountering, it’s best to make your baby wear earmuffs.
Some parents with active lifestyles might need to make their child wear earmuffs regularly, especially parents who want, or need, to bring their babies everywhere they go. For example, there’s no need to miss a dinner party at a restaurant because you’re worried about the noise your child will encounter. Baby earmuffs will protect their ears and keep your child comfortable all night long. Plus points for not having to worry about a cranky baby or a toddler tantrum due to being sleepy, because your child will be able to fall asleep in spite of the noise around them.
We can’t emphasize enough that noise-induced hearing loss can have major effects on your child’s life. No parent would want their child to suffer from something that is 100% preventable. Now that you’re aware of the negative effects that can stem from hearing loss, you can make sure that this doesn’t happen to your child. With baby hearing protection, you can be sure that you are protecting your child’s hearing from the environment around them.