We only lose our hearing when we get old, right?
Wrong. There is a common misconception that only old people have hearing problems, whereas the reality is that hearing damage can start at any age. With some 50,000 children1 suffering from hearing loss in the UK, this number grows going into adulthood. Currently, 1 in 6 people across the population have partial or complete hearing loss.
One of the common causes of hearing damage is exposure to loud noise. The modern world is very loud, with children on their devices regularly gaming, watching a movie, listening to Spotify, playing a musical instrument…the list goes on. All of these activities could potentially be damaging to their ears. In this blog post we are focussing on what measures can be taken to help protect and prevent hearing loss from a young age.
What noise is damaging?
It is important to know how loud different noises are, and how this can impact on your children’s hearing. Noise is measured in decibels (dB), with any sound over 85dB considered as harmful, especially with prolonged exposure. If your child is listening to music through headphones at full volume, then their ears are exposed to noise of 100dB to 110dB2. As a general rule, if you can hear what your child is listening to, it’s too noisy. Or deafening as some people would say.
Children’s ears are more susceptible to noise damage, due to the growth of the nerve fibres and other cells at a younger age3. With that in mind, allowing your children to listen to music with headphones at high volumes, and for prolonged periods of time, can lead to lasting damage to their hearing.
Other noisy situations where precautions should be taken:
– Playing a musical instrument – The drums for example oscillate between 90dB & 130dB
– Watching a movie at the cinema – 80dB to 110dB
– Music festivals – young people love a musical festival. If they’re at the front near the speakers, they’re exposing their ears to 100dB -115dB
What hearing damage can my child get?
The main problem that children suffer from is Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL), which is partial deafness. Higher frequency sounds can no longer be heard due to damage of the cochlea (hairs in the inner ear) have been damaged by loud noise. Often, this is permanent.
Tinnitus may also occur, which is a ringing in the ears. You can read more on Tinnitus, the causes and symptoms here
Prevention rather than cure
When it comes to our ears, prevention is better than cure. This is because once you have damaged your hearing, there is no ‘cure’ per se. The impact of this for hearing problems such as Tinnitus can be life changing – once you have it, it will never go away.
Cue Snugs custom fit solution. We make earplugs which fits the exact shape of your ear and so you allow less sound to escape i.e. sound bleed, and less ambient noise in. This is called passive noise isolation, and means that your children can listen to their music at a lower, safe volume. The best part is, they still get the same sound experience, but are not damaging their ears in the process.
Combined with setting limits to the number of hours in a day that your children use their earphones, this is great steps in helping prevent hearing damage to your children’s ears.
SnugsKidz – custom tips to protect children’s ears
SnugsKidz uses our photo-fit App, to create custom fit earplugs for little ears, which they can use with their earphones (most likely AirPods!). Simply take their ear pictures through our App, our AI measures their ears size and we make a custom tip to fit them. They can safely game, study, listen to their music and watch movies in comfort.
With a number of colours to choose from, children can personalise their tips for their earphones to match their favourite colour, as well as have their name engraved on them too – hopefully helping make it difficult for them to lose them!
You can order SnugsKidz here
Other ways to protect their ears
– Wear hearing protection when it matters – SnugsShield have special attenuated filters for different noisy environments, and can be the perfect addition to your child’s school kit when learning to play the drums, Read more and order here
– Water protection – hearing problems can arise from repeat ear infections. Use swim plugs to provide a block and prevent water getting into their ears. Order custom fit swim plugs here
- NHS 2018 – 5 ways to prevent hearing loss. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/top-10-tips-to-help-protect-your-hearing/
- Healthline 2018 – Are your kids headphones permenantly damaging tour kids hearing? https://www.healthline.com/health-news/are-your-kids-headphones-permanently-damaging-their-hearing#1