Posted September 8, 2011
When your kids are exposed to loud noises, what steps do you take to protect their ears? The Better Hearing Institute reports that more than 1.8 million kids have hearing problems. While adults may be accustomed to coping with loud noises, such as those created by fireworks, lawn mowers or motorcycles, kids’ ears are extremely sensitive to these sounds. Many loud noises associated with routine activities can produce high levels of sound that, over time, can damage kids’ hearing.
How Hearing Works
When sound waves enter the ear, they hit the eardrum in the middle ear. The eardrum starts to vibrate and moves three tiny bones that send the sound along into the inner ear. The vibrations travel to the cochlea, which is filled with liquid and lined with cells that have thousands of tiny hairs on the surfaces. The outer hair cells take the sound information, amplify it and tune it. The inner hair cells send the sound information to your hearing nerves, which carry it to your brain and allow you to hear.
Recognizing Kids’ Hearing Problems
Frequently, parents and teachers are not aware that their kids are experiencing hearing difficulties. School-age kids who cannot hear properly may be reluctant to participate in classroom discussions or activities, especially if background noises cause the sounds to blend together. Hearing issues can contribute to kids experiencing low self-esteem and attention deficit, and also may lead to behavioral problems.
Protecting Kids’ Hearing at a Young Age
It is important to protect kids’ hearing when they are young to avoid hearing problems as they age. Parents may want to invest in noise-reduction earmuffs for kids to use in loud environments, as well as monitor the volume level of personal music devices to help minimize the potential for hearing damage.
Have your kids exhibited any signs of hearing problems? What solutions have you pursued to protect or improve their hearing? – Scott Delisi, Ameritas Group