Hearing Loss in Children
Although hearing loss can happen at any age, a growing number of kids and teens are damaging their hearing by prolonged noise exposure to loud noise. This type of damage is called noise-induced hearing loss, which is permanent and is almost always preventable! Approximately 12 percent of all children ages 6–19 have noise-induced hearing loss.
Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by damage to the hair cells that are found in the inner ear. Hair cells are small sensory cells that convert the sounds we hear (sound energy) into electrical signals that travel to the brain. Once damaged, our hair cells cannot grow back, causing permanent hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss can be immediate or it can take a long time to be noticeable.
Prevention includes understanding the hazards of noise and practicing good hearing health. The loudness of sound is measured in units called decibels (dB). Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by prolonged exposure to any loud noise over 85dB.
How to protect your child’s hearing:
- Wear proper hearing protection (earmuffs or earplugs) when in noisy environments (concerts, sporting events, fireworks displays, car races). Hearing protection comes in a variety of sizes and textures to provide an optimum fit. Custom-made earplugs can be obtained from an audiologist.
- Turn down the volume.
- Walk away from loud noise.
- Receive hearing tests.
- Learn about audiology screenings at schools.
- Learn about the connection between hearing and first-grade reading.
Childhood noise risks include:
|Noisy toys||Sporting events|
|Farm equipment||Movie theaters|
|Firecrackers and fireworks||Power tools|
To help you and your child learn more about hearing, hearing loss, and hearing protection, download these educational worksheets and games.
If you have a newborn, don’t forget to get a newborn hearing screening.
If you think your child may have a hearing loss and/or you would like more information regarding hearing protection, an audiologist can help navigate these needs. Therefore, “Find an Audiologist” and set up an appointment to get your child’s hearing checked.