Hearing loss is often an unfortunate side effect of the aging process. One in three adults over the age of 65 suffer from age-related hearing loss. But in recent years, there’s been a rise in the number of children who are suffering from hearing loss.
In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in eight children ages six to nineteen have hearing damage caused by exposure to loud noises. The World Health Organization predicts that this number will continue to rise, with the amount of global hearing loss cases doubling by the year 2050. So, what is the reason behind these alarming statistics? And what can be done about the hearing health crisis in children?
What Is Causing the Hearing Loss Epidemic in Children?
We have modern society to thank for the rise in hearing loss cases in children. Overall, the world is much louder than it once was. We are continually exposed to loud noises, especially in more urban environments. From construction noises and sirens to loud concerts and sounds that can potentially damage our ears are all around us. Noisy toys and headphones can be a culprit too.
It’s common for people to wear headphones and earbuds all day long. This includes teens and children. Many children spend a lot of time on tablets with their headphones on, and often the volume is turned up too high.
When we think about noise-induced hearing loss, we often think of hearing loss that’s caused by a sudden, loud sound like an explosion. But noise-induced hearing loss doesn’t always come on all at once. Rather, it’s caused by continuous exposure to loud noises over time. And since noise-induced hearing loss can come on so gradually, it’s often not noticed until the damage is already done.
The problem comes from a combination of duration and volume. For example, the wildly popular Apple AirPods Max produces a volume of around 100 dB. This means that only 20 minutes of listening is enough to harm our ears. Since we rely heavily on modern technology, it can be difficult to give our ears a much-needed break.
The Impact of Noise Exposure on Children’s Hearing
Most of the time, children who suffer from a noise-induced hearing loss have slight cases. Still, it’s important to take measures to prevent further damage. After all, once your hearing is gone, it’s gone forever. And even if a child doesn’t show signs of hearing damage now, noise exposure can catch up with them later in life.
Preventing and Treating Hearing Loss in Children
Prevention is the first line of defence when it comes to protecting your child’s hearing. To keep your child’s hearing in good health, follow these tips:
- Try to keep your child away from loud noises. When you can’t avoid loud noises, make sure they are wearing hearing protection.
- Keep the volume on TVs, toys and electronic devices at safe levels. When available, use the lower volume settings, or select the “safe hearing” mode.
- Online hearing screenings are a great way to get a baseline.
- Get their hearing checked by a professional should you have any concerns or if there is any family history of hearing loss.
- Set a good example by keeping the volume turned down on your own devices and taking breaks from using headphones.
Options for treating hearing loss in children include hearing aids and cochlear implants. These devices can be powerful in managing the symptoms of hearing loss and helping your child hear better. The right treatment will depend on your child’s individual case, and your audiologist will recommend treatment options based on your child’s lifestyle, age and level of hearing loss.
Worried about Your Child’s Hearing?
When something goes wrong with the health of your children, it can be stressful and scary. If you’re concerned about your child’s hearing, it’s important to seek the help of your audiologist right away. Here at Davidson Hearing Aid Centres, hundreds of families trust our team of hearing healthcare professionals with their children’s hearing health. For more than 80 years, our team has been dedicated to providing the area’s best service and offering the latest hearing aid technology.
We know that hearing aids can be a considerable investment. That’s why we offer a 90-day trial on all hearing aid fittings to make sure that every patient has the best solution for their unique hearing loss needs. Families with children who are in need of hearing help can also take advantage of our Kids Program which helps to make hearing aids more affordable for children under 19.
If your child is suffering from a hearing loss, don’t delay. To schedule an appointment with our audiologists, give us a call at 613-233-3149 or request a callback.