Is technology damaging your child’s hearing?

  • Hearing News  •   February 28, 2019

“MP3 players such as iPods can play music at 115dB, which can cause permanent hearing damage in anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes.”

Steven McCluskey, Audiologist Apex Hearing

We know that nowadays children and young people are spending long periods of time listening to music on personal devices, often at very high volume.  This is particularly worrying since hearing loss can be caused by both high volume and length of listening time.

Exposure to loud noise can damage the tiny hair cells in the ear that receive sound. When too many of these hair cells are lost the ability to hear is permanently diminished. Frequent exposure to sounds over 85 decibels (dB) can impair hearing over time. 

MP3 players such as iPods can play music at 115dB, which can cause permanent hearing damage in anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes.  It has become very common to listen to music through headphones/earbuds at around 100 decibels (dB). Worryingly just 14 minutes of exposure to sound at 100dB can damage the ear.

So what can you do to help protect your child’s hearing?

  • Encourage them to keep the volume on headphones or earbuds at 60% of the maximum volume
  • If you’re unsure what a safe volume is, remember that if you can hear the music when your child is wearing headphones or earbuds then it is too loud
  • Similarly, if your child cannot hear you when they are listening to music then they are listening at too high a volume
  • Opt for over-the-ear headphones instead of earbuds; this may help safeguard ears since earbuds are essentially tiny speakers sitting in the ear, funnelling music straight into the ear canal
  • Try to limit the amount of time your child uses headphones or earbuds each day since prolonged listening is more likely to cause damage to hearing
  • Consider getting your child noise-cancelling headphones as this may encourage them to listen at lower volumes since they won’t need to increase the volume as much to cancel out background noise

Most importantly watch out for signs of a hearing problem. These could be pain, ringing or buzzing in the ears or if your child complains that sounds or voices are muffled. Also watch out for your child being less responsive when called, or missing parts of conversations or any change in behaviour at home or in school. All of these could be signs that your child is experiencing hearing loss.

Remember if you are concerned about your child’s hearing we at Apex are here to help and can offer you a complimentary hearing health check for your child.

Call today to book an appointment with one of our excellent hearing care specialists.