The number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled within the past 30 years. Children in Thousand Oaks as well as those around the country are at an ever growing risk of developing hearing loss. This may be due to the increase in use of personal music players. Developing noise-induced hearing loss from a personal music player is the biggest concern from Thousand Oaks audiologists. This type of hearing loss is permanent. There is a simple way to determine if something you are listening to is too loud and can cause damage. Sounds are measured in decibels. Anything over 85 dB (food processor) can cause damage after eight hours. Exposure to sounds over 100 dB (lawnmower) can cause damage within 15 minutes. Sounds over 120 dB (chain saw) can cause immediate damage.
What Sound Exposure Are You Getting?
Audiologists have been studying the effects of the increase in personal music for the last few years. A 2010 study found that an iPod set to its maximum volume paired with a set of standard earbuds produces an average sound level of 96 dB. This level is higher than what is legally allowed in any workplace. One study found that about 25 percent of people who use personal music players are exposed to daily noise levels that can cause damage. Another study found that 90 percent of all adolescents listen to music using earbuds; almost half of those individuals use a high-volume setting that can cause hearing loss. Turning the volume down is the easiest way to prevent hearing loss in Thousand Oaks. Experts recommend using the 60/60 rule. This rule states that you should listen to music at 60 percent of the volume for 60 minutes a day, since music at this volume for this length of time will not cause any harm to your hearing.
What Can You Do?
If your child does not (or cannot be trusted to) follow this rule, we have a few suggestions.
- Replace your child’s in-ear bud style headphones with an over-the-ear model.
- Set a sound limit. Many new music players have parental settings that you can use to set a listening volume limit. These controls are typically protected with a password.
- Purchase headphones designed specifically for kids. These typically come with a lower-than-normal maximum volume level.
If you have any more questions about how to protect your child against noise-induced hearing loss contact your local Thousand Oaks audiologist. Protecting your child’s hearing when they are young can help ensure they do not need a hearing aid when they are older.