As parents, it’s in our nature to want to protect our children for their whole lives. From stopping them from touching something hot or staying out of stinging nettles to being mindful of what they eat, who they play with, and teaching them basic safety, we can’t help but be overprotective sometimes. We are even cautious with their eyesight, making sure they wear sunglasses, don’t stare at the sun, and don’t sit too close to the TV.
But what about hearing? There is a lot of research into the more significant impact of protecting your hearing, although this often gets overlooked (which you can click here to learn more about).
The issue with loss of hearing is that it happens over a period of time. It is unusual for hearing to disappear suddenly. This means you can take steps to protect children’s hearing now. Here are some examples:
Constant exposure to noise levels above 85dB can have an impact on hearing. Most battery-operated children’s toys and toy guns can create loud sounds between 110dB and 135dB, so keep an ear out for these. Sometimes it is better to turn the toys off for a while, although these are always the ones that kids want to play with the most, so just be mindful of anything that seems excessively loud.
When it comes to headphones, you’ll be hard pushed to find a teen that doesn’t have them practically attached to their head. If this is the case, it is best to set the rule: no higher than 60 percent volume for 60 minutes of the day. And be sure to double-check and enforce it! This will mean that they aren’t exposed to loud music longer than needed.
While you might think that a family festival only happens once or twice a year, you may not be paying attention to the fact that you and your children are going to be exposed to loud noises for the whole day. So for these occasions, it is in your best interest to wear hearing protectors. Available in different colors and styles that suit most tastes, you can be confident that you are doing something good to protect your hearing.
If you have been listening to loud music, attended a festival, or had headphones on for much of the day it’s important to rest your ears. Researchers estimate that you need around 16 hours of quiet time after an intense listening session to recover.
If your kids like to go swimming often, or they have a long bathing session, they can become susceptible to swimmer’s ear. This is when the water gets ‘trapped’ inside the ear, allowing bacteria to enter the ear canal. After every swim session, or when you have finished your bath, use a towel to dry in and around your ear, and gently tip your head to the side to help the water exit. If you find the water is still trapped, tug on your earlobe to help the water leak out, or lie on your side for a while.
It is essential that you get regular ear checks for both you and your children. This will mean that any early loss is detected and measures can be taken to preserve the hearing that remains, as well as prevent more hearing loss in the future.