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It seems like everyone is walking around with earbuds or headphones these days- even children. But how safe is it for our little one’s ears to keep up with this inevitable, technological trend? With virtual classrooms and daily digital interactions becoming more normalized, you will find more of a demand for your child to use devices like headphones. At Camellia ENT, a local pediatric ENT near you, we care about those little ears. Here are a few pointers to help with your decision on choosing the perfect pair of headphones for your child, and tips on how to maintain their overall hearing health and safety while using them.
The first step in purchasing headphones for your child is selecting a product that puts hearing health and safety first before choosing the most popular or “cool” pair. Comfort and fit should also be considered with health and safety first. You will find that this will quickly rule out ear buds or any in-ear products for children as these allow the device to be closer to their eardrums and still developing nerves and fibers within their ears.
Turn it Down A Notch
Continuing to closely monitor the volume level at which your children are listening to content from your carefully selected pair of headphones is vital to their ear health and safety to prevent lifelong hearing loss or damage. Keeping their volume level at a maximum of 70dB for their average daily noise exposure is what’s recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The best way to avoid hearing loss is to take preventative measures.
Take A Break
Just as your child’s screen time may be monitored, their listening time with headphones is recommended to be as well. Practicing this will allow for more balance with the two likely going hand in hand most times while also protecting your child’s more sensitive ears. Experts recommend keeping your child’s listening time to a maximum of two hours per day with a break or breaks between.
Cordless is Cool
Not only are cordless children’s headphones more popular, they are also safer. With a corded product comes the risk of strangulation if not closely monitored while in use. Wireless and Bluetooth options may be at a higher price point, but well worth the peace of mind for your child’s safety.
Lead the Way
Lead by example in displaying that you also monitor your own volume level intake and time spent listening with headphones. Your little ones are always watching closely, plus its best for your hearing to monitor your usage too. Talk to your children about the importance of protecting their hearing health. Help them understand how vital it is to their growth and development.
Practice positive reinforcement when your child chooses to break away from devices used to enjoy listening to sounds of the world from their own two ears alone. This will make the breaks between use easier for you than feeling like you have to pry them away from your child, creating a negative experience around the headphone usage breaks.
Signs to Look For
Noise induced hearing loss signs can be subtle, so here’s what to be on the lookout for with your child:
- Reported ringing, buzzing, hissing, or roaring in one or both ears after hearing a loud noise
- Muffled or distorted sound complaints
- Complaints of ear pain
At any time if any of these signs appear you should reach out to a pediatric ENT near you. If you would like to find out more about your child’s overall hearing health and learn about suggested hearing protection products tailored to their specific needs, consult with the board of doctors and their caring team at the Camellia Audiology.