This is a guest post by of Dr. Marcella Roper Bothwell, MD, FAAP of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery about their recent survey. I was contacted by them to particpate in a conference call – and then I asked them to write a guess post about hearing loss and use of technology. Here it is.
you worry about your kids listening to their iPod at full volume or watching
their portable DVD player with headphones while you hear the entire dialogue,
you are not alone. A recent survey by the American
Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery found that four in five
Americans are concerned about hearing loss due to ear buds and that hearing
loss is a top medical concern for parents. And with good reason: Three
million children under the age of 18 have some form of hearing loss, and
than 10 million Americans suffer from noise-induced hearing loss.
is the brain’s interpretation of sound or sound pressure from the outside
world. Loss of hearing can be divided into two categories: conductive and
sensori-neural hearing loss. Sound is ‘conducted’ to the nerve for
perception. Any abnormality in the external ear, canal, tympanic membrane, or middle
ear bones, or fluid in the middle ear can cause conductive hearing loss. This
type of hearing loss can sometimes be reversed.
hearing loss occurs when sound comes through these organs and damages the
cochlea, the “nerve” organ for hearing. The cochlea receives the sound signal
and transforms it to neural input or electrical impulses to the brain. When
these nerves are damaged by exposure to loud sound, hearing loss can result.
Senori-neural (or sound-induced) hearing loss is not reversible, which is all
the more reason why parents should do all they can to prevent this type of
Administration requires hearing protection if a person is exposed to 85
decibels (dB) of sound for 8 or more hours. If you were to go into a closed
room and turn on a stereo, but can easily hear someone talking, that’s around
85 dB. Because dBs are log rhythmic, not linear, 95 dB can cause hearing damage
within 4 hours. At 110 dB, a range easily attainable through a personal music
player, hearing damage can happen in an hour or less.
can help ensure that your child is using personal music players or other
devices with headphones safely.
buying new devices, look for those with the ability to control the volume limit
externally and set the maximum at 60-70% of the maximum volume. For example, on
an iPod Classic, click Settings, then Volume Limit. Use the Click Wheel to
adjust the maximum volume down. Then click the Center button and set a four
digit passcode. Your kids won’t be able to crank their iPods up to full volume,
which can reach levels up to 115 dB (louder than the noise from a powersaw).
aware of ambient noise which may be as high as 90 dB in a subway. To hear over these noises, it would be
natural to turn up the volume by 10 dB, resulting in 100 dB delivered to your
ear which can cause damage to your ear in an hour or less. Noise isolating and / or noise cancelling ear
phones can be of help but does not replace sensibility in listening.
your kids use ear plugs or ear muffs when they’re involved in loud activities,
including musical performances, mowing the lawn, etc.
to your kids about noise-induced
hearing loss. These are the only two ears they’ve got. Empower them to
protect their hearing. There are no quick fixes for noise-induced hearing loss.
We’d all hate to have kids be forced to turn in their headphones for hearing