Is there a correlation between hearing loss and headphone use?
Research within the last few years has certainly found a connection between hearing loss and listening to electronic devices through headphones. One study of 3,000 children found that those who listened to music through headphones showed a greater prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss than those who did not. Since many children and teens now have easy access to portable electronic devices, it’s important to help them prevent hearing loss before it’s too late.
Promote healthy hearing habits in children
Like most people, children are often more compliant when they know why they are being asked to do or not do something. Since they don’t have a lot of life experiences of their own yet, children may need a little help in understanding how their actions today could affect their hearing in the future. Here are a few ways you can foster healthy hearing habits in your children:
- Model appropriate listening practices – Children often do what their parents do, even if their parents tell them to do otherwise. Therefore, it’s important to practice what you preach – if you want them to turn down the volume on their devices, do the same with your own and they’ll soon follow suit.
- Teach your child about hearing loss – Children often learn best when they are shown real-life examples of what you’re trying to teach them. First, explain what hearing loss is in terms they can understand. Then, try to find an example they can relate to – for instance, if Grampa wears hearing aids after working in a loud factory for most of his life without wearing proper hearing protection, explain this to your child and they’ll be able to see firsthand what the effects of noise-induced hearing loss look like.
- Limit headphone and earbud use – While there are certainly times when using headphones or earbuds can be useful in limiting distractions to other people, it is better if these situations are few and far between. Instead, provide an environment in which your children can listen to music or play a game on their device without having to use headphones. This way, you will be better able to monitor the volume as well as provide some additional distance between the sound source and your child’s ears.
Hearing loss prevention is the best medicine
Unlike some things in life, there’s no going back once you’ve lost your hearing. Helping to prevent childhood hearing loss is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. Instead of supporting unhealthy hearing habits, it’s time to nip them in the bud – the earbuds, that is!