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  • Protecting your children’s hearing

    A child’s hearing is highly sensitive and prone to damage from loud noises. Children are particularly vulnerable because damage to their ear drums at an early age will inhibit development in later life; the risk of this happening is every parent’s nightmare.

    Despite these problems being fortunately confined to the few, developments in technology and changes in cultural norms are creating more risks than ever before.

    Parents therefore need to be aware of these risks and be able to identify circumstances which might put their child in danger. They can then develop strategies which prevent hearing damage from becoming a reality.

    As illustrated below, the risks associated with hearing loss depend on the level of noise and the exposure time. 85db is the threshold for safe or dangerous noise and an increase of 10db is equivalent to being twice as loud. Sustained amounts of loud noise can be just as damaging as a sudden burst of sound and it is often the former that goes unnoticed by parents over a long period of time.

    Protect Your Child's Hearing

    For younger children, the risks are more often associated with unexpected sources of loud noise. Fireworks, particularly when used in the setting of a back garden, can be particularly dangerous for the ears, producing a maximum exposure of 140dB. Care should be taken to ensure that children are far enough away from the source.

    Noisy toys, football matches and watching motorsports can also create short-medium blasts of sound which should be limited to periods of two hours or below, along with exposure to industrial noise from road works, loud vehicles or machinery.

    MP3 players are clearly the hottest current topic of concern. Around 76 per cent of children between the ages of 8-18 own an MP3 player and 25 per cent of people using such a device do so loud enough to cause long term hearing damage. Maximum noise levels can reach 115db, which is deemed a safe level of sound for the equivalent of about five Justin Bieber hits.

    Parents are advised to monitor children’s use of MP3 players and adjust the maximum volume limit to remove louder settings. Limit periods of listening to shorter periods with breaks in between.

    Other musically related risks can be associated with instruments, gigs and festivals. Teenagers attending music concerts will put their ears at risk the closer and longer they stand near speaker systems, with sound levels ranging from 110-120dB. Restraint should be encouraged with regular breaks and ear plug use. Instrument use should also be limited to one or two hour exposure, or fifteen minutes for the clarinet or trombone.

    Fortunately there are safe activities which children can still perform without damaging their ears. Washing machines and vacuum cleaners are fine, so why not encourage housework now and again?!

    In reality, for older children, it becomes more and more difficult to monitor and influence their behaviour all of the time. However, through adequate education they will develop a firm platform with which to make responsible decisions.

    Permission to go to a gig should go with the caveat of wearing earplugs when noise is considered dangerous. Children do not need to give up the pastimes they enjoy to help mitigate risks, just encourage that they take precautions; don’t make an enemy out of yourself, make noise the nemesis instead.

  • Hearing screening for newborns

    It has been reported that one to two babies in every 1000 are born with a hearing loss in one or both ears and that is why the NHS has set up the Newborn Hearing Screening Programme. This programme aims to identify any hearing impairment in the early stages of development to help give children a better chance of developing speech and language skills.

    In recent reports a baby girl was born profoundly deaf, but has since benefitted from the NHS programme. To help identify the seriousness of baby Bride’s condition, medics ran a series of tests, launched by Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHT Trust seven years ago. Baby Bride was then fitted with two cochlear implants, which has improved her hearing outstandingly.   However in January this year Miss Bride lost her hearing again due to unknown circumstance, but has yet been fitted with new implants.

    Another way medics have been treating children with hearing impairment is the use of ear tubes, which recently have concerned doctors using them with children with cochlear implants due to increased complications.  However, after recent studies it is now considered safe for children to wear ear tubes with cochlear implants.

    Hearing loss in babies has become more concerning for parents and now under the Newborn Hearing Screening Programme all parents are offered the chance to have their child’s hearing tested within the first few weeks.

  • Hearing loss in children

    Hearing is a critical part of a child’s cognitive learning and with 1 in 3 out of 1,000 babies being affected by hearing loss and deafness, it is extremely important to have your babies hearing screened on a regular basis.

    The good news about hearing loss in small children is that it can be treated if it is caught early, preferably before they are 3 months old, however some are not treated quickly enough. Hearing loss in children can occur due to a number of reasons such as:

    • Born prematurely
    • Stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit
    • Had high bilirub requiring a transfusion
    • Had frequent ear infections
    • Exposed to very loud sounds even for a brief duration.

    Children are very sensitive when it comes to loud sounds and being exposed to deafening noises. Even at an extremely young stage of life hearing is imperial for children’s learning. The best way to protect your children’s hearing is to use earplugs designed specifically for them. These earplugs cannot be used for babies, but are ideal for young children who are learning to swim and who are exposed to damaging noises.

    When my children were growing up, I made sure they always wore these children earplugs to prevent them from getting any infections such as swimmers ear. Children’s hearing is extremely important and I felt I had to make sure they were protected in times when it was very loud such as days out when we went to see plays.

  • How Earplugs Improve Your Quality of Life

    Are earplugs really that important? How can something so small, inexpensive earplugs make such a big impact on a person’s life as to improve the quality? We worry about many areas of health, yet tend to neglect our hearing health. The fact is, hearing loss is very prevalent and common in aging as well as in younger adults who are exposed to loud music via music venues, iPods and handheld gaming devices.

    Think about it this way, most factory workers exposed to noise on a regular basis protect their hearing through the use of work earplugs, but you might be exposed to similar noises in the course of a day and never protect your hearing. Turn up an iPod to full blast (as many teens do) and you have the equivalent of listening to heavy machinery. Many common noises are just as dangerous as industrial noises: mowing the lawn, listening to a concert, music in a club, children’s toys. Continue reading

  • How Can Golfing Damage Your Hearing?

    Crikey! Golfing can damage hearing? How can that be when golfing is a sport known for “sideline” whispers and dainty golf claps to avoid distracting the golfers? Well, apparently, the risk lies with the new-fangled titanium golf clubs.

    The noise the titanium clubs make when they whack the ball down the course (and hopefully not in the grove of trees to the right… slice!), has been said to create a sonic boom. While this may be an exaggeration, the fact remains that the noise could cause damage over repeated exposure. One 55-year-old claims his hearing has been partially damaged after using the titanium clubs 3 times a week over the last 18 months. Continue reading

  • How to Protect Your Child

    Millions of us are exposed to dangerous noise levels on a daily basis and the situation for our children is not any different. In fact, children’s toys can reach decibel levels nearly as loud as a jet taking off (160 db)! See, they aren’t just annoying but dangerous to boot!

    Things are quite a bit different for our kids than they were for us. Speakers are smaller but louder. Technology such as MP3 players, iPods, handheld gaming devices and tons of little “key-chain” type critters that blip and bleep are common in today’s households. Our lives are busier, noisier and even classrooms are noisier today. Continue reading

  • Hearing Protection for Tweens?

    Tweens are kids who are in between childhood and "teenhood" ages 8-12. My daughter falls in this category (almost 11). It's a difficult age as they transition from playing with toys to thinking about boys. And the boys are very much over the "girl's are icky" stage as well. It's at this time when we start worrying about the big talks as well as other soon-to-be issues such as avoiding drug use, alcohol etc. We still want them to wear their bike helmets, even though they are more concerned about how the helmet will mess up their hair. Do we really have the time to worry about yet another issue such as hearing loss?

    Well, we'd better because with all the noise in their world, many of our tweens could end up with irreversible noise-related hearing loss. They have iPods and other portable music devices, handheld video games and gaming consoles hooked up to surround sound. They will soon be attending more gymnasiums to watch sporting events that can reach very high decibel levels. Rock concerts may be a bit in the future, but with more and more musicians targeting this age group, you may be closer to a Miley Cyrus concert than you think! Continue reading

  • What Makes These Earplugs So Popular?

    There are literally hundreds of choices when it comes to earplugs, but some earplugs seem to reign supreme: Alpine MusicSafe Pro, Macks Ultra SafeSound, Macks Pillow Soft Kids, Moldex Spark Plugs, Moldex Mellows, and Heartech Silent Ear. I thought I'd look these customer favourites over and determine why they are so popular!

    Musician earplugs are highly popular these days with all the attention given to hearing damage that avid music lovers, rock stars and club employees were encountering without proper hearing protection. Alpine MusicSafe Pro earplugs are affordable music earplugs that allow you to choose the proper level of protection with three different attenuating filters: white for low level pub music, silver for music venues and gold for D.J.'s and others who are exposed to very loud music. I give these a top rating because they offer professional quality in protection, but at affordable rates for those of us who are not highly popular D.J.'s or rock stars! Continue reading

  • The Many Uses of Foam Earplugs

    Potentially THE most comfortable earplugs, foam earplugs are highly versatile and are an important addition to your home safety kit or workplace safety standard closet. Beyond protecting your hearing, foam earplugs just seem to make life a bit more comfortable.

    I can’t think of a place where comfort is more imperative than in the bedroom. And, sleep is SOOO important to your health. Obviously, sleep deprivation can cause fatigue, sluggishness, weakness and fuzzy thinking, but in addition, it has long-term affects such as premature aging! Yikes! Sleeping ear plugs can block those annoying nighttime noises whether that’s a partner snoring or grinding their teeth or the neighbour’s yappy poodle they forgot to let in for the night. Continue reading

  • Turn It to The Left?

    Hearing loss information from overseas! The American Academy of Audiology has begun a “Turn It to the Left” program to try to convince parents and children to mind the decibel levels of various audio devices and toys.

    According to the New York Times article, as many as one in eight children have noise-induced hearing damage, which means that over 500 million children have a disability that could have been prevented. Continue reading

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