Help Prevent Hearing Loss in Children

Did you know that when MP3 players are purchased as gifts, the majority of purchasers are moms? That finding emerged at the Mommy Tech summit at the recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show.

But do you know about the potential risks? Kids often don’t know how to use audio technology safely and they can harm their hearing as a result. In fact, hearing loss among young people is reported to be on the rise, and there are strong concerns that a generation of young people could end up with prevalent hearing loss.

“For some time, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has warned that hearing loss in the United States could rise significantly due to the misuse of personal audio technology,” ASHA President Tommie L. Robinson, Jr. explains. “Unfortunately, a report released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation cites some alarming trends about excessive entertainment media consumption among our nation’s children, indirectly supporting ASHA’s concerns. This should be a warning to parents that they must regulate children’s exposure and fully understand the potential health threats associated with misuse and over exposure to such technologies.”

“ASHA will continue to bring these issues to the forefront and appreciates the Kaiser Family Foundation’s contributions to the national dialogue,” Robinson adds.

According to a 2004 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, children were reported as being exposed to 6 hours and 21 minutes of media (TV, music, internet, etc) per day. By 2009, this statistic had increased dramatically to 7 hours and 38 minutes per day. When media multitasking is taken into account, this leaps to 10 hours and 45 minutes per day. This massive consumption of media has led to decreased grades in school and ASHA contends it puts kids at an increased risk of hearing loss.

One thing that is clear from the study is that parents can be very positive influencers on how their children use entertainment media.

Whether your child received an MP3 player, gaming device, cell phone, laptop, or any other device with headphones, don’t overlook the important health threat of hearing loss. Now is the time to reach out to other parents about the importance of hearing loss prevention, the damaging effects of excessive media consumption, and the resources available to them through ASHA.

Here are two simple ways to protect your children’s – and your own – hearing.

· Keep the volume down. – A good guide is half volume.
· Limit listening time. – Give your hearing ‘quiet breaks’.

Find more information and statistics at ASHA’s website. You can also follow their Twitter feed or fan them on Facebook to get real time updates on their work.

What do you do to protect your children’s precious hearing? Just as we worry about what they hear, we should worry about how loud and for how long. What are your tips or family rules?

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  • I don’t doubt that increased media consumption is contributing to hearing loss for many children. Like you said, children don’t know how to properly control the volume on devices and can end up listening to music that is too loud. Making sure that sound isn’t too loud and having them take breaks away from their music should help prevent hearing loss. Thanks for the article.

  • Wonderful write up you’ve got. One of the parts of the body that people don’t understand its functioning is our ear. we may get worried if we’re disturbed about noise but we don’t usually care that the resultant effects of noise pollution really endanger our hear. this effect usually reflect when we grow old and unfortunately too, children that are exposed to pollution could also develop hearing problem. the genetic factors are not the causes in most cases if I must say. it’s good if the government and the people should manage our ecosystem optimally.

  • Great information. I see young people with blaring music in their earphones while pursuing various activities without even thinking about the long term effects of prolonged noise exposure to their ears. Sharing this post.