Hearing Loss Tops Parents' Concern for Kids

Damage from loud external noises puts 3 million youngsters under 18 at risk, group says

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FRIDAY, May 1, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- Parents worry more about their children suffering hearing loss caused by excessive noise than any other common medical concern, including asthma and allergies, a recent survey says.

The survey by the American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery, released to draw attention to May being designated as Better Hearing and Speech Month, highlights concerns about children being exposed to excessive noise levels at home and abroad. The organization estimated that hearing loss caused by external sources effects about 3 million children under the age of 18.

"It's important to be aware of the intensity of sound around you in order to protect your hearing," Dr. Marcella Bothwell, a pediatric otolaryngologist -- head and neck surgeon at San Diego's Rady Children's Hospital, said in a news release issued by AAO-HNS. "Children and teenagers are not always able to recognize when surrounding noises have reached dangerous levels, and that's why parents and caretakers need to be aware, in order to teach them how to avoid permanent damage."

The AAO-HNS offers these tips to help parent guard against hearing loss in their children:

  • If you have to shout, the noise you are shouting over is loud enough to possibly damage hearing. Always remind your children to turn it down.
  • Have your children take breaks from long periods of listening to music or other loud entertainment sources. Some personal MP3 players, for example, have been measured as having maximum volumes louder than those of a power saw.
  • If your child is involved in a loud activity, such as lawn mowing or attending a concert, give them ear plugs or ear muffs.
  • Encourage your child to avoid activities or noise they think is too loud.

More information

The American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery has more about hearing loss in children.

SOURCE: American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery, news release, May 1, 2009


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