Did you know that approximately 1 in 8 children have noise-induced hearing loss? October is Audiology Awareness Month, and in Naples, Florida, we do not often encounter hearing loss in children. Mostly, Southwest Florida’s general population is over the age of “child” and into the realm of “adult,” “mature adult,” or “extremely mature and exceedingly wise adult.”
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
And yet, many children experience hearing loss as a result of noise. Even in Collier County! Audiology Awareness Month is the perfect time to explore these types of issues and learn more about hearing loss trends and statistics. For those children ages 6-19 who experience hearing loss, their condition is typically preventable. Are you wondering what could POSSIBLY be the noise that induces this hearing loss in children around our country? Well, we have a few ideas:
- Prolonged, highly justifiable maternal yelling
- Unidentifiable rotting food substances and other items in teenage patients’ rooms that finally explode at a deafening volume
- Loudly barking puppy that the child patient “had to have” in order to experience a truly fulfilling childhood
- Siblings screaming in each other’s ears, fighting over the light pink crayon, while other shades of perfectly acceptable pink lay unused only inches away
But, what really causes noise-induced hearing loss in children? Simply put, this type of hearing loss is caused by damage to the hair cells found in the inner ear. These hair cells are tiny sensory cells that convert sounds into electrical signals that travel to the brain. Harmful sounds cause this damage; they can either be too loud and last too long OR be too loud and sudden. (Think rock concerts or explosions vs. full volume iPods or car stereos.)
Protect the Child in Your Life (and Yourself While You’re At It)
What to know to protect your hearing or the hearing of a child you’re close to? Check into custom hearing protection devices. Things like earmuffs for loud activities or foam ear plugs for sporting events and concerts go a long way towards preserving inner ear hair cells. Noise-induced hearing loss can be prevented by taking precautions and being wise when encountering harmful sounds. Here are a few steps to take this month:
- Talk to your child or grandchild about noise-induced hearing loss and some of the noises that can cause it (hair dryers, loud events, car racing, MP3 players at full volume, fireworks, car stereos, etc).
- Walk away from loud noise, and turn down the volume whenever possible.
- Research custom hearing protection and other ways to protect against noise-induced hearing loss.
- Take your child or grandchild to an audiologist immediately should you suspect noise-induced hearing loss.
Other Facts for Audiology Awareness Month
Yes, children suffer from hearing loss in our country. But, did you know that over 36 million adults in America experience some degree of hearing loss as well? And that more than half of these 36 million adults are under the age of 65? Oddly enough, hearing loss is the third most common health issue in the United States. How can you prevent or address hearing loss?
- Schedule a free hearing test each year at Decibels Audiology! It’s a no brainer — it’s free! (And, it’s a happy, fun, and painless experience. Can your dentist or OB/GYN say the same? I think not.)
- Protect your hearing whenever possible. Use earmuffs at the gun range, wear ear plugs at night if you or your partner snores, and turn down the volume on your car stereo.
- Invest in high quality hearing devices, if necessary. Hearing devices preserve brain function, assist in social situations, and help wears communicate effectively with others.
Contact us today to schedule your free hearing consultation!