It’s back to school time again, and you’re enjoying the first few weeks of peace and quiet. You bought your kids new clothes and new school supplies, but did you pick up some earplugs? You want to make sure your child is prepared for everything, and stays safe, but not enough parents are thinking about protecting their child’s hearing.
Noise in Your Child’s School
Schools are notoriously loud places, with crowded hallways, echoing cafeterias, and deafening programs like band practice or gym class. Even the bus on the way to and from school can be dangerous to your child’s ears. Has your child or teenager come home complaining about a ringing or buzzing in their ears? Do they seem distracted, or not able to focus? If they’re not paying attention to you, it might not be a sign of a bad mood, but an early warning sign of hearing loss.
Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Children and teenagers are increasingly at risk of noise induced hearing loss. This is hearing loss caused by exposure to extremely loud and dangerous sounds that damage or destroy tiny cells in the inner ear. Noise induced hearing loss can be sudden, when you are exposed to one extremely loud sound like a gunshot at very close range. More commonly, this kind of hearing loss is gradual, and is the result of the repeated strain that loud noises place on your ears. It’s hard to notice the day to day changes in hearing, but if your child’s school is very loud, over the course of a school year they will damage their hearing.
Protecting Your Child’s Hearing
Education: The best way to protect your child’s ears is to get them involved in the process. Sit down with your child and educate them on how the ear works, and how loud noises can damage hearing. This way, if they’re in a loud place they have a better chance of recognizing the dangers, and protecting their hearing. You can even download a sound level reader to their phone, so they can check out the sound levels for themselves, and see when sounds are too loud.
Earplugs: Be sure to pack a pair of earplugs in your child’s school bag, and replace them whenever they’re worn out. Help your child understand when a certain area is too loud. In the hallways or on the playground, if your child has to yell to be heard by their friends, it’s too loud, and they are risking their hearing. If your child is in band or plays sports, they should always be wearing earplugs during these very loud activities.
Raising Awareness About Hearing Loss
If you’ve noticed that your child is struggling to hear, you’re probably not the only parent concerned for their child’s hearing health. Take the time to talk to other parents, as well as your child’s teacher, to find out more about the noise levels at school, and how noise can be reduced to keep everyone’s ears safe.
Book a Hearing Test
If you’re worried that your child isn’t hearing everything they should be, call us today at Pacific Northwest Audiology to book a hearing test. These tests are completely non-invasive, and fun for your child. All they have to do is listen to a series of tones in low and high ranges, and tell us whenever they hear a sound.
After the hearing test, we’ll walk you through the results. If your child has hearing loss, its important that they get fitted with a pair of hearing aids as soon as possible, since for a child who’s learning and growing, hearing is one of the most valuable tools to help them find out all there is to know about the world. From playing with their friends and learning about interpersonal relationships to hearing the teacher and learning about the world, hearing loss will set them far behind their hearing peers.
At Pacific Northwest Audiology, we have hearing aids created especially for children, that can adapt and change along with them. Advanced programs will help them hear their teacher, as well as connecting them directly to any audio systems in the classroom. Visit us today, and you can rest easy knowing that your child’s hearing is in good hands.