As school activities begin, let’s look at children’s hearing risk for hearing loss and encourage healthy hearing habits. Hearing is a “forgotten” sense when it comes to school activities. Let’s take a look at the rise in hearing loss among children and the factors that play a role.

Earbuds and headphone use has led to a spike in hearing loss for children aged 6 – 19 years. 12.5% have developed hearing loss because their earphones are turned up too high for video games, music and other media. Average wear time is steadily increasing.

Head trauma through improper sports protection can cause hearing loss as well as brain function. A helmet can protect both!

Band, orchestra practice and drum lines are popular activities for school-age children. They are exposed to daily damaging levels of sound during practices and performances which cause permanent hearing loss.

Chemistry labs, shop classes and many sports require eye protection but we need to realize the hearing risk by exceeding the safe limits of sound in these school activities. Hearing loss can result from exposure to these activities.

What to Do?

  • Turn down the music and limit wear time for earbuds or headphones – in and out of school.

  • Wear the right sports equipment to prevent head trauma for contact sports at school and at home.

  • Play instruments with caution and keep music enjoyable for future years. Provide earplugs and show them examples of popular musicians performing with ear protection. There are inexpensive specific earplugs for musicians to use. Find out more here.

  • Provide earplugs or earmuffs for your child to use in labs, shop class and sports to protect their ears for this school year and in the future.

Back-to-school season is the perfect time to get kids aware of their hearing and encourage healthy hearing habits. Parents should request hearing screenings by their child’s physician to monitor their hearing and preserve it for the future!

Dr. Anita Carroll is a licensed Audiologist and owner of Hearing Solutions in the Triangle, PLLC with over 25 years of experience. Have a few questions about your child’s school activity – she can be contacted here.  If you’re looking to check hearing or improve listening skills visit our online scheduling here.