Protecting your child’s hearing at school

Slamming lockers, the band practicing loud rifts of music over and over, cheering contests at pep rallies, our schools are getting louder and louder. So much so, that it’s time to make sure your child’s hearing is protected at school. Of course, the first step towards good hearing health is getting a hearing test at Hearing Spa. You should have a baseline, so you can keep tabs on your child’s hearing development.

 

Noise in schools

Schools are noisier than you may remember. Hallways are louder and more crowded, there’s lots more amplification at sporting events and band practice can get quite raucous. All these things can have a decibel rating of 85 – and higher! The safe level is 85 and repeated exposure to noisy environments can result in hearing loss. Noise induced hearing loss in children is preventable, but more than 5 million children in the United States have noise induced hearing issues and more are diagnosed each year.

What you need to do first is discuss how important paying attention to noise and hearing safety with your child. Explain how sound processing works in the ear and stress that those tiny hair cells that help with processing don’t grow back if they are damaged. Now would also be a good time to give them a little refresher chat about not sticking things in their ears like pen cap ends or straws.

 

Noise on the way in and on the way home?

Children who are on the bus more than a couple of minutes use it as down time to listen to music or play games on portable electronic devices. They may want to keep punching up the volume, so it’s loud enough to  be heard over the noise of the bus and the other children. If your child is using headphones, talk to them about acceptable volume levels. Or, get headphones that are noise-canceling, so that they do not have to crank up the volume.

 

Music lessons

Marching band, orchestra – maybe the brass ensemble – all great activities for children. However, frequent and lengthy exposure to loud music can cause noise induced hearing loss.  If your child is in band, talk to the music instructor about ear protection during rehearsals. There are special ear plugs called musician’s ear plugs or high-­fidelity ear plugs and your child will still be able to hear the instruments clearly - just at a softer level.

And since most musicians performing at concerts or on television have ear plugs, there shouldn’t be a problem convincing your child it’s a great idea. You can always talk to professionals at Hearing Spa about custom ear protection for use at band practice or if your child is a hunter or involved in shooting sports.

 

On the playground

While your child is on the playground he or she could be exposed to loud noises. There’s traffic, sirens, train whistle, noise from manufacturing facilities and nearby construction. Visit the playground during recess and the noon hour to hear what might be around. Teachers working on the playground may be so used to background noise, they don’t realize it could be harmful. Bring your concerns politely to school administration. Tell your children if there is noise outside that hurts their ears, they should move away from the noise source.

 

Play ball

Team sports are wonderful ways to promote teamwork and fitness. Any school-run sports program should have a complete set  of protection for your child, including ear protection. Baseball and softball players should wear helmets to protect their ears and temples and wrestlers should have ear guards.


Swimmers should protect their ears with ear plugs. If your child currently wears a hearing device, they should be taken out or protected with custom ear protection that the Hearing Spa staff can discuss with you.

 

Ear plugs are a great idea

Ear plugs are portable, small and fit nicely into a backpack or purse. Some come with a neck strap, so your child can’t lose them. Make sure they know how to insert them properly. Foam ear plugs should be rolled and inserted snuggly into the ear canal. There are phone apps that you can download onto your child’s phone, so they can test sound levels.

 

Be a role model

Wear correct ear protection if you are mowing the lawn or using loud power tools. Keep the volume of the television and the stereo at a normal level and pay attention to the volume of the radio in your vehicle. Preserve your child’s hearing health and the hearing health of the rest of the family by getting regular hearing tests at Hearing Spa. Contact us today!


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