Noise Tips for Parents – Children and Noise Exposure
Children’s ears are more sensitive to loud noise. The inner ear (cochlea) contains tiny hair cells that move with sound vibrations and transmit signals to the brain. Exposure to loud noise damages these hair cells. Over time, with more exposure to loud noise, sounds become muffled and speech becomes harder to understand.
“The ability to hear well helps children succeed in school, in sports and other activities, and in their personal relationships. Many sources of noise that can potentially damage the hearing of children are part of their daily, normal lives”.
(Canadian Academy of Audiology)
Noise-induced hearing loss is permanent and cannot be fixed.
“1 in 5 teens suffers from some degree of hearing loss. The damage is often noise-related and could have been prevented”
(Speech-Language & Audiology Canada)
Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by either:
- gradual exposure – the damage to the ear is slow and permanent. There are often very few warning signs so people do not pay much attention to the danger.
- loud bursts of sound, like gunshots or explosions – the damage to the ear can be instant and permanent.
How Can I Protect My Kids From Hearing Damage?
If you have control of the volume (personal music players, for example) there are steps you can take for safer listening. When you do not have access to the volume of sounds, hearing protection should be used.
Read on to learn how to protect your child’s ears.
Noise Source: Music, Video and Computer Games
Noise Source: Noisy Toys
Many parents do not realize that toys can cause hearing damage. What can you do?
- If possible, check for volume control options before buying a toy. If a toy sounds loud, choose a different toy.
- Where possible, choose a toy that has an on/off button.
- Many battery-operated toys offer several volume settings. Keep the volume at the lowest possible setting.
- Remove the batteries from noisy toys.
- Limit the amount of time that young children spend with battery-operated toys.
- If you have an existing loud toy, without volume control, reduce the loudness by putting tape over the speaker.
- Contact the toy company to let them know that the toy is loud and suggest they lower the volume of newer models.
Noise Source: Concerts, Recreational Vehicles and More
Many activities that we enjoy have the potential to cause hearing damage.
- Events like concerts, racing/speedway special events and activities like driving dirtbikes and ATVs produce noise at levels where hearing protection (earplugs or earmuffs) should be used.
- If your child is close to lawnmowers, chainsaws, or power tools, their hearing should be protected.
- Keep your distance: do not stand next to loudspeakers or other sources of loud noise.
Children should use hearing protection that’s right for their age, either child-sized earmuffs or earplugs and it should provide enough protection for the level of noise they will be exposed to. Find tips for choosing hearing protection for your child below.
How Do I Pick Hearing Protection For My Child?
Looking for custom earplugs for hearing protection or custom musicians earplugs in Newfoundland and Labrador? Visit our listing of Where to Buy Custom Hearing Protection.
Where Can I Buy Child-Size Hearing Protection?
Attending a noisy event in Newfoundland and Labrador?
- Children’s hearing protection is available to borrow for FREE from our lending program. Hearing protection can be borrowed for 2 weeks – contact us to find out more.
- Earplugs are available to purchase for $1 from our earplug vending machine at Mile One Centre in St. John’s, NL.
- Child and infant sized earmuffs are available from a variety of local and online Canadian retailers. An online search will provide a wide selection of options.
Some sources for additional information on noise:
- More noise awareness information – Are You Noise Aware?
- FREE noise awareness posters.
- World Health Organization: Make Listening Safe
- Information on Sound & Noise from the Canadian Academy of Audiology
- Noise-Induced Hearing Loss from Health Canada
- Noisy Toys: Hearing Foundation of Canada
- Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Poster from Speech-Language & Audiology Canada