Kid’s Hearing: Turn Down the Volume: January 17, 2014

Headphones and hearing loss- all the warnings are falling on deaf ears. Kids in particular are feeling the brunt.

“Recently there was a study that shows that 12% of kids between the age of 6 and 19 years of age having hearing loss. And it’s suspected because of the MP3 generation, the iPod generation, listening to music at loud volumes,” says Dr. Pierre Loredo, pediatrician with Lee Memorial Health System.

Hearing loss in teenagers is up 30% since the 80s and 90s. Yes, you heard that right. Today, one in five teens has a deficit. The reason could be two-fold. Kids today are listening louder and longer.

“You really should follow what’s known as the 60/60 rule and that’s no longer than 60% of the volume and no more than 60 minutes without giving yourself an extra hour break,” says Dr. Loredo.

There is a danger that children with a hearing loss may suffer in school. When grades start dropping, parents and teachers look for answer and may mistake their inattention for something else.

“A lot of time we’ll have kids come in for behavioral problems and they’ll get diagnosed with ADHD. The parents will think ‘my poor child doesn’t pay attention in class, the teacher says he is always daydreaming’. And it turns out that child actually has hearing loss,” says Dr. Loredo.

Experts say it’s important to tune into what your child is doing. Talk to them about the audio limiting feature on their music players. And if you can hear music coming from their headphones- it’s much too loud.