The topic of ‘hearing loss’ has been increasingly in the news as of late, in particular hearing loss among the youth and the elderly. However, an extremely important target audience is forgotten: children. When children are young, the hearing is extremely vulnerable, because a children’s ear can handle less than an adult ear. Therefore, it is essential to protect the hearing of your children as early as possible.
Over the past years, a number of studies have been carried out regarding hearing loss among children. A study of the Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung in Germany has demonstrated that 1 in 8 children is suffering from hearing loss and that boys hear even less than girls. An American study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association also clearly shows that hearing loss has increased greatlyamong children and young people. In addition, a study of the Antwerp University shows that three in four children suffers from occasional ringing ears, and that this effect is permanent (tinnitus) in one in five.
The causes of hearing loss among children are mainly to be found in all ambient noise ant toys. Think about the mount of noises to which we are exposed on a daily basis. One even louder than the other. Car horns, loud railway crossings, sirens, lawnmowers, speakers etc. Children from socially deprived families suffer the most in this regard.
But at home, the TV and other electronic devices can produce a lot of decibels as well. Another risk is formed by toys equipped with all kinds of bells and whistles. Of course, children love toys that make noise, but this has major consequences. Because studies have shown that toys can render the child deaf. The somewhat older children in particular, risk damage caused by the MP3 player and the cellphones, since they allow them to listen to extremely loud music. These MP3 players and cellphones can cause permanent hearing loss.
Another trend is that festivals are more and more accessible to families with children, and that there is an increasing amount of big events for teenagers. However, these also pose risks to children. Especially when they are on their parent’s shoulders allowing them to see better. Because as they rise above the other audience, they are also exposed to more noise.
Hearing loss among children is something that occurs gradually, but the consequences of hearing loss often don’t become evident until the child grows older. If they suffer from hearing loss due to noise, they may have problems focusing, insomnia and stress. Moreover, children who suffer from hearing loss that are not given treatment, are often impeded in their language development. In addition a study from the airport in Munich shows that children that are often exposed to excessive ambient noise, have sleeping issues, higher blood pressure and secrete more stress hormones.
A recent American study shows that 96% of the parents are not aware of the risks their child runs due to excessive noise. It is important to protect the hearing of children, because children are exposed to too much excessive noise. Therefore, please take these five tips for protecting the hearing of your children to heart.
By Lisette de Roode