How to Protect Your Child's Hearing Six Ways

by Susan Dunn

5.2 million 6-19 year old had hearing loss directly related to noise exposure according to the 3rd National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2000, reported on Dangerous Decibels, .

According to a study done by Montgomery and Fujukawa in 1992, "Over the last 10 years, the percentage of 2nd graders with hearing loss has increased 2.8 times; hearing loss in 8th graders has increased over 4 times." No one knows exactly what level damages a child's ears, but the Noise Center's Rule of Thumb is: IF YOU HAVE TO SHOUT TO BE HEARD THREE FEET AWAY, THE NOISE IS TOO LOUD AND IS DAMAGING TO YOUR HEARING.

  1. Educate yourself about noise levels.

    A loud enough sound can cause instant, permanent and irreversible damage. Children's ear canals are shorter than adults, and more vulnerable, and many of the activities teens love are potentially harmful to their hearing. Resources: Top Ten BQ 172 ( ), DangerousDecibels ( ) and League for the Hard of Hearing ( ).

  2. Provide your child with peace and quiet and make it clear you value it.

    Turn down the volume of everything in your home and tell why you're doing it. Model and encourage quiet activities such as reading, playing in room quietly, playing with toys that don't make noise, visiting the library, walks in nature, quiet conversation, and soothing music.

  3. Check out your child's toys.

    A noisy squeeze toy is rated 135 decibels (dB) by the League for the Hard of Hearing. If a sound reaches 85 dB or stronger, it can cause permanent damage to your hearing. A recent study by the Henry Ford Health System found that many current toys, including tape recorders, bike horns, cap guns, and toy telephones, are not safe for your child's hearing. Of the 25 they tested, more than half made sounds higher than 115 dBs.

  4. Ask your local theater to lower decibel levels and work with your child's school.

    Action movies generally go beyond 90 dB, video arcades can exceed 100 decibels (similar to factory machinery), computer games and stereo systems can go as high as 135 dB (the level of a jackhammer), and car stereos reaching up to 154 dB.

  5. Provide ear protection when necessary and model by using it yourself.

    Such as if you take your child hunting or a to a shooting range or use firecrackers or power tools.

  6. Include instruction the same way you do when you tell your child brushing their teeth twice a day prevents tooth decay.

Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach, . I offer coaching, distance learning courses, and ebooks around emotional intelligence. Free ezine, Daily tips, send blank email to . I train and certify EQ coaches. Get in this field, dubbed "white hot" by the press, now, before it's crowded, and offer your clients something of real value. Start tomorrow, no residence requirement, global student body. Email for prospectus.

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