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Hearing Loss in ChildrenHearing loss in children is a big issue.  As a school nurse for over 15 years I have seen a definite increase in the number of failed hearing screenings.

If you are a parent this is something you really need to be aware of.  Chances are….if you have a child older than 4 years….your child is doing permanent damage to their hearing on a regular basis!

The issue at hand is EARBUDS.  Unless you live under a rock….you are probably aware that technology is EVERYWHERE.  Most people don’t want to hear your technology….so to keep other people happy….earbuds are put in.  I realize that earphones are also used…guess what…they are really not much better.

The facts are….your children and possibly even you…are contributing to what is called Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL).   This is a permanent hearing loss caused by noise.

How Hearing Loss in Children Works:

Most people would agree that if they were going to use a chainsaw they should wear earplugs due to the loud noise emenating from the chainsaw.  The chainsaw creates around 100 decibels of sound.  If you listened to a chainsaw without earplugs for even 30 minutes permanent damage would begin to occur.

If you have a pair of earbuds in your ears and are listening to your iPod at 70% of it’s top volume…that is around 85 decibels of sound.  Do you see the correlation here…

The danger from earbuds comes from the fact they are placed directly in your ear….tiny little speakers right there in your ear.  Loud music playing that close to your eardrum can and will cause permanent hearing loss.

I want to share with you how the damage occurs.  I think it is important to understand how your own body works and it will also help you explain the dangers to your children!   Here is a very brief overview of how earbuds damage your hearing.

How Earbuds Can Damage Your Child’s Hearing

The ear has 3 parts:  the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear.  Part of the inner ear called the cochlea contains tiny hair cells.  These tiny hair cells are what help send messages to the brain.   Loud noises can damage and destroy these tiny hair cells.  Once they are damaged, they cannot be repaired.  As more and more hair cells are damaged, the cochlea can’t send sound messages to the brain.

Noise-induced hearing loss typically happens slowly over time.  People don’t realize they are damaging their own hearing until it is too late.  You can read more about NIHL on the Hearing Health Foundation website.

Now you know what could be causing your child to slowly damage their hearing….stay tuned for Part 2:  What Parents Can Do to Prevent Hearing Loss in Their Children!

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