Practice Safe Sound Scenarios With Kids - Part 1
Our children are growing up in audibly louder times than ever before. When I was (much) younger the loudest thing I ever experienced was my mother yelling at me to turn the radio down. Which, now that I have grown to understand her nagging, I am grateful for.
(Un)knowingly my mom was protecting my hearing from noise, which is still the greatest threat to our hearing. We hear sound when delicate hair cells in our inner ears vibrate and this creates nerve signals that the brain understands as sound. If we overload these delicate hair cells with extended exposure to loud noises, we can damage them, permanently.
Your teen’s active social life may be the greatest contributor to his or her potential hearing loss. Nowadays our children are easily exposed to a number of circumstances which bring them in direct contact with high risk hearing loss scenarios. From high volume (baby) stimulating toys, to MP3 players, music festivals, social events, gaming equipment and the ever popular ‘my friend just got new DJ equipment’ parties. Preventing your son or daughter from exposure to these social developing spheres may be impossible; educating them about the dangers of sensory negligence is entirely attainable.
But how do you know when loud is too loud? Well to put it simply, if you, or your mom, needs to shout to be heard, it is very likely that the noise in your home or in the environment you’re experiencing is too loud. For more clarity on when noise is too loud, have a look at our loudness scale to give you some more insight.
Generally speaking though, the younger your kids are the easier it is to teach them the value of hearing manners. There are three key lessons that every child should learn. Just like putting on sunscreen, your kids should know:
When to turn the volume down - This doesn’t need to be a nag. Try to make it a game, like how many sounds / instruments can you hear in a song or on a drive?
Stand further away from the source of the noise - they don’t need to have front row seats to the Bieber concert (save your pockets as well as their hearing).
Wear protective gear like ear plugs, earmuffs or even plugging your ears when you have no access to physical protection. Turn this into a fashion statement - your children are more intuitive than we were when we were young.
If your make this about sustaining their senses in the long run they will understand, trust them and they will trust you.
In our next article we will look at how to encourage more students and teachers to practice safe sound environments at school.