HKQ Kids

PROTECTING YOUR HEARING

Silence may be golden, but it’s not exactly realistic. In a world filled to the brim with YouTube videos, smartphone apps, and music streaming platforms, it’s easier than ever before for kids to plug in their headphones and tune out the rest of the world. It’s important to know that the choices your kids make about volume can impact their hearing later on in life.

First of all, it should be noted that headphones aren’t necessarily bad for your hearing: loud noises are. Just like how the sound of a gunshot or a jet engine can cause immediate pain and hearing loss, continually listening to loud music or videos can lead to long term hearing damage, known as noise-induced hearing loss. It can also lead to a constant, unpleasant ringing noise in your ear(s), known as tinnitus. Headphones and earbuds take the source of the sound and place it closer to your ear canals. Volume moderation is key.

Hearing is a precious gift. Help keep it safe, for you and your kids. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Between over-the-ear headphones and earbuds, pick the headphones; earbuds can actually have the potential to be more harmful. Half the point of listening devices is to amplify the sound of what you’re trying to listen to, but the other half is blocking out sound from the world around you. Over-the-ear headphones do a better job at doing that without any volume playing. Earbuds aren’t nearly as good at keeping out
    external sound.
  • Safe usage of earphones is also extremely important. Earphones should never be used while riding bikes, driving, crossing streets or in any instance where you have to remain alert to any other potential dangers.
  • In addition to explaining to your kids why it’s a bad idea to have their volume maxed out, there are ways to set limits on how loud their devices can get. For example, iPhones and iPads have parental control options in the devices’ settings that allow you to restrict its maximum volume. Similar settings are often available on televisions and computers as well.
  • For those with kids old enough to be driving, remind them that cruising down the highway with the windows down can have similar negative effects. Extended amounts of driving with the windows down or sunroof open, in addition to music playing and the sounds of traffic, can be just as harmful.
  • For large crowd events, like concerts, especially if they’re a frequent occasion, it may not be a bad idea to invest in some earplugs. Even though it may only last for a few hours, a loud concert or event can also lead to hearing problems. There are earplugs available that are designed to protect your ears and not muffle outside sound.

For more safety tips, go to HKQKids.org or find us on Facebook.