AUGUSTA, Ga. – A recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that more than 1 billion teens and young adults are at risk hearing loss.
After studying the listening habits of 12 to 35 year olds, WHO discovered nearly half of them listened at unsafe sound levels on their personal audio devices and many are exposed to damaging levels of noise at various music and sporting venues.
It is up to each of us to protect our hearing, says Dr. Stephanie Barrett, Director of Audiology at GRHealth, because once you lose it, it will not come back. She suggests the following tips to help children practice safe listening:
1. Limit exposure to loud noises. It does not take much to permanently damage your hearing. In fact, being exposed for long periods of time to noises such as the sound of a vacuum cleaner can cause permanent hearing loss. Parents are encouraged to educate their children on the importance of safe noise levels and help them incorporate hour-long listening breaks in their daily routine.2. Turn down the volume: When it comes to personal listening devices, do not exceed 60 percent. Also, be aware of the volume levels in your car, because this will also affect your hearing.
3. Use ear protection. The next time you go to a function like a concert or sporting event, use ear protection such as filter plugs, in-ear monitors, or noise-cancelling headphones.
4. Apply volume-restricting technology. If your child is using a listening device and you can hear the sound, it is too loud. There are smartphone apps that can help monitor safe listening levels and many electronics stores now sell sound-limiting headphones and earbuds for children.
“Hearing is a precious faculty and it is never too early to educate your children about the importance of safe listening,” says Barrett.