Young kids now at risk of excessive noise exposure

When you look around, you often see older kids and teenagers wearing headphones and earphones. But something interesting and maybe a bit worrying is happening with younger kids too, according to a big survey across the country.

The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital did a survey about kids’ health. They found that two out of three parents said their 5 to 12-year-old kids use personal audio gadgets, and half of the parents with kids younger than 8 said the same.

For kids who use headphones and earphones, about half of their parents think they use them for at least an hour each day. And for around 20% of kids, it’s two hours every day. Sometimes, these parents don’t set any rules about how long their kids can use these gadgets or how loud they can listen to them. This lack of rules might cause health problems like hearing issues or ringing in the ears later on.

Young kids now at risk of excessive noise exposure

Dr. Susan Woolford, a doctor who helps kids, talked about this. She said that before, we were mostly worried about teenagers using these gadgets too much. But now, even younger kids are using earphones a lot, which means they’re listening to loud sounds regularly.

Dr. Woolford gave some advice to parents to help keep their young kids safe from loud noises:

  • Check the volume: Make sure your kids listen to audio devices for no more than 60 minutes a day, and at no more than 60% of the maximum volume.
  • Use special headphones: Look for headphones that keep the volume under 70 decibels. That’s a level safe for kids.
  • Take breaks from listening: Make sure your kids take breaks from using devices every day. You can also suggest they listen to music at a lower volume from a speaker instead of using earphones.
  • Watch for signs of hearing problems: If your child asks you to repeat things often, hears ringing sounds a lot, talks loudly, starts speaking late, or doesn’t react to loud noises, it’s important to pay attention and maybe talk to a doctor.

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