Keeping Little Ears Safe: 6 Child Ear Protection Tips  

Child Ear Protection Tips

As adults, we know that loud noises can hurt our ears, and ongoing exposure can cause hearing loss. It’s the same for our tamariki, which is why focusing on child ear protection is so important.

Everyday your child uses their hearing to help them understand and learn more about the world. The soft comforting words from whānau, the squeals of excitement from other tamariki at the playground,  the loud car horns and engine noises of the traffic going by, all play a part in helping your child make sense of what is happening around them.

Sometimes though, these noises can get overwhelming in both volume and number.  That’s when we need to think about child ear protection.

 

Child Ear Protection Tips for When Things Get Noisy

Sound is measured in decibels, with anything over 70 dB known to cause hearing damage with long term exposure. Each day, your pepi or tamaiti will be around some potentially damaging noises at home, such as from the washing machine, hairdryer, the crunching blender or vacuum cleaner. Stepping outside, sirens from emergency vehicles, traffic noise from a busy road and construction vehicles working can also be too loud.

While you can’t do much about your child’s exposure to many of these sounds, you can take steps to reduce the level of risk with one or more of these child ear protection strategies:

  1. Check your child’s toys —while musical or noise-making toys are fun and exciting, there is the potential they could be harmful to your child’s hearing. A young child is likely to place their head close to the toy, so be sure to check the volume is at the lowest setting. There are a few apps you can download on your phone  to help you measure dB ratings of toys and other sounds.
  2. Be a positive role model — children learn so much from watching us. Simply seeing you cover your ears with your hands and grimacing can be enough for a child to learn that some loud noises are not okay.
  3. Use  ear protection specifically for children — ear protectors or noise-cancelling headphones come in all sorts of sizes, suitable for young babies and older. Remember, the best baby ear protectors are ones which have been specifically designed for babies! The same goes for older tamariki.
  4. Set listening time limits — if your child listens to music or watches TV, set some time limits on how long they can do so. You could also set out a safe distance to be from the sound source, such as sitting on the sofa when watching TV.
  5. Avoid exposure to loud noises where possible – if you are going to a concert or show, stay away from speakers and large crowds to reduce noise levels. Having them wear child ear protection headphones is also something to consider.
  6. Turn it down — if it is loud to you, then it is likely to be very loud for your child. Little ears are very sensitive, and hearing can be easily damaged through regular exposure to loud noises. If you can’t turn it down, then limit the time of noise exposure or move your child further away from the source.

It’s never too early (or late) to take positive steps to keep your child’s ears happy and healthy.  If you do have any worries about their hearing, be sure to chat with your GP, Plunket nurse or your chat to one of your child’s Kaiako at our centre.