Loud Music Can Damage Your Child’s Hearing
Music is now available everywhere, from cell phones to the ever-popular iPods, but the combination of loud volumes with earphones that fit inside your child’s ears creates a dangerous mix – one that can damage his or her hearing.
“A lot of times, people turn up their music to drown out the lawnmower or other outside noises,” says Kathleen Geier, Au.D., CCC-A, lead audiologist at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center. “If you can’t hear what is going on around you, then not only does it pose a safety concern, but also the volume can damage your hearing.”
In fact, some of the things we do for fun as a family are dangerously noisy. Geier said most of the hearing loss she sees as a result of watching auto racing, going hunting or even mowing the lawn can be diminished with the use of ear plugs.
Time to Turn It Down
Your inner ear has tiny hair cells that convert sound vibrations into nerve impulses that are sent to your brain, and that’s how you hear. When those hair cells are harmed by excessive sound pressure, hearing loss occurs.
iPods play music at up to 115 decibels, which is louder than a lawnmower, firecrackers, or a jackhammer. But it’s not just about volume – higher-pitched sounds are more intense. It also matters how long you are listening to something at a certain volume.
“You only have to listen to your iPod for 5 minutes each day with ear buds at the highest volume to do damage to your hearing,” Geier said. “By the time your ears start ringing, the damage has already been done.”
Helpful Tips for Parents
Apple offers tips for locking your child’s iPod at a safe volume.
If you suspect your child has suffered hearing damage, contact a Cardinal Glennon Pediatric Audiologist at 577-5671.