Protect Their Hearing: What Parents Can Do
Noise is everywhere, so it’s important to protect your tween’s hearing. Here are some easy suggestions for what you can do in your home and community to prevent noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
- Be aware of the sources of potentially damaging sound. Many common electronic and electrical devices around the home, such as power tools and music players, can reach unsafe noise levels. How close you are to the sound and how long the noise continues also matter. See the Noisy Planet fact sheet How Loud Is Too Loud? How Long Is Too Long? for more information.
- Place hearing protectors, such as earplugs or earmuffs, where they are most likely to be needed. Suggested places are next to a lawn mower, tractor, or all-terrain vehicle and in a woodworking shop and garage.
- Place red stickers on objects that can reach unsafe decibel levels. Remind family members that a sticker means that they should reduce the time that they are around these devices or should use hearing protectors.
- Tape a volume scale on your television or remote control to show where the sound level can be listened to safely.
- Set the maximum volume on your child’s MP3 player or other electronic devices to a safe level.
- Involve school administrators, teachers, and your parent-teacher association in reducing noise levels in the school and during after-school events. Suggest that the school:
- Invest in a decibel meter to measure the noise levels of gym classes, the cafeteria, music class, and hallways during class changes.
- Make students aware of how noisy these areas are and point out the potential risk to their hearing.
- Partner with a local drugstore or sporting goods store to distribute earplugs at school concerts, sporting events, and loud social events.
- Distribute copies of the National Institutes of Health middle-school curriculum on hearing health, How Your Brain Understands What Your Ear Hears, to seventh and eighth grade science and health teachers. (Teachers may order or download free copies from http://science.education.nih.gov/supplements/nih3/hearing/default.htm.)
- Use the drop-in article available at the Noisy Planet Web site in your school and community newsletters to get people involved in helping to reduce noise.
More tips are available at the Noisy Planet Web site.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) sponsors It’s a Noisy Planet. Protect Their Hearing. This national public education campaign is designed to increase awareness among parents of children ages 8 to 12 (tweens) about the causes and prevention of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). With this information, parents and other adults can encourage children to adopt healthy hearing habits before and during the time that they develop listening, leisure, and working habits. To find out more about how to protect your hearing and that of your family, visit the Noisy Planet Web site.
For more information about your hearing and hearing loss, contact:
NIDCD Information Clearinghouse
1 Communication Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20892-3456
Voice: (800) 241-1044
TTY: (800) 241-1055
Fax: (301) 770-8977
NIH Publication No. 09-6431E