How Loud is Too Loud for Kids
As parents, we have so many concerns about our children’s health and safety. We obsess over the food they eat, the drugs they take, the clothes they wear. One thing that is often overlooked when it comes to kids' health is sound—specifically, just how negatively hearing loss can affect a child’s development. In this piece, I’ll be exploring just how loud is too loud for our kids and what you can do to protect their ears from irreversible damage.
Headphones - the not-so-silent killer
Unless you take the time to read the fine print on the packaging for instance, you have no way of knowing how loud those headphones you bought your kids are. You can't tell how loud a pair of headphones is by looking at them. You can't tell how loud they are just by looking at the volume control on their cord. And if you think that logo with a kid wearing headphones in it tells you whether or not they're safe for children, think again!
The bottom line is this: if you want to know what kind of sound levels your child's new pair of headphones emit, you need to look inside them and see what kind of decibel rating they have on hand (and remember: decibels aren't always reliable!).
How volume is measured
Decibels, or dB for short, is a logarithmic scale that measures sound intensity. The lower the number, the quieter it is; the higher the number, the louder it is.
- A whisper measures at about 30-35 dB
- A normal speaking voice measures at about 60-70 dB
- Applause in a quiet room can measure at 100+ dB
Monitor listening habits
There is no way to tell how close someone is to their safe daily limit just by looking at them. It's different for each person and there are no universal guidelines as such.
Instead, it's important to monitor your children's listening habits, especially with headphones and earbuds where the soundwaves are isolated from background noise. (This is one reason why kids' hearing experts urge parents not to let their kids wear headphones in noisy places like airports or gyms.)
Children's ears are more sensitive than those of adults—and they're still developing! That makes loud sounds potentially harmful for young people, who can face a host of health problems later on if they're exposed too early or too often.
Damage to hearing can be caused by a variety of factors, but one thing is clear: the damage is permanent. Once you've lost your hearing, it's gone for good. And while some people are born with hearing loss as a result of genetics, the majority experience this kind of damage due to loud noises or exposure to other harmful sounds.
Communicate safe listening practices
You can also buy headphones with built-in volume control and limiters. The volume control lets you turn the noise down for quieter listening, while the limiters make sure your child can't accidentally crank up the volume to unsafe levels. Some headphones have features that automatically lower their sound output when they sense that a dangerous volume has been reached, making them ideal for active kids who like to listen while they play sports or run around.
Another way to keep your kids safe is by choosing headphones that have noise cancelling properties so they don't need to turn up the sound as high in order to hear well. These kinds of models are especially good at blocking out background noise--say, if you're trying to listen while listening through earbuds at an airport terminal—and better yet if they come with an indicator showing just how loud these noises may be getting!
If you can’t make sure your child isn’t wearing headphones at all, then at least make sure they’re aware of the risks and know how to protect themselves from loud music. For example, if your child listens to music through their phone or tablet, there are some easy ways for them to reduce the volume without it being too noticeable: use headphones with noise-cancelling technology; sit further away from speakers; avoid using headphones in noisy environments (such as a bus); and don’t listen to music for more than an hour at a time. If you need extra help, contact us today!