You do! As a parent, you care about everything related to your child’s health, and hearing is a critical part of childhood development. But childhood hearing is often not on the forefront of parent’s minds when it comes to protecting your child’s health, but it should be and here’s why:
Your child has one set of ears
While the link between noise and hearing loss is by no means new, what is new is the rise in the number of children at risk due to everyday noise exposure. This type of hearing loss is called noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Most people who develop NIHL will eventually need some kind of intervention to help them hear. But there is some good news, NIHL is entirely preventable! This prevention must start as early as possible because noise-induced hearing loss is cumulative, meaning that the more exposure we have, the worse the condition gets over time.
Did you know that hearing loss is a major contributing factor in early onset dementia?
Hearing loss can lead to social isolation and depression in adulthood.
Children’s language development is 100% correlated to hearing
Unlike genetic factors, injury and illness that can cause hearing loss in children, NIHL is totally preventable. By understanding How Loud is Too Loud for How Long, parents and caregivers can ensure they are doing everything they can to protect their child’s hearing, which will impact everything from social development to academic success. If you suspect that your child is not meeting communication milestones, consult with your pediatrician. Hearing is just one of many factors that can lead to delays in communication.
Hearing Health is Ear Health
We so often limit our thinking around childhood ear health to problems such as ear infections and cleanliness. But hearing health IS ear health in the same way that vision is a major part of eye health. Parents actively work to prevent vision loss in children with hats and sunglasses, scheduling eye exams and teaching proper hygiene, but the same is not always true for children’s ears. You brush your child’s teeth to prevent tooth loss, but do you cover your child’s ears at loud events to prevent hearing loss?
You are the best protection
Because noise-induced hearing loss is 100% preventable, the steps you take as a parent or caregiver TODAY will impact your child’s hearing for a lifetime. Take some time to learn about the strategies to reduce the impacts of loud events, model safe hearing behaviors in your own life like listening to music at a comfortable level and wearing adult hearing protection when using power tools, and encouraging your child to listen to their body’s noise cues.
Hearing needs to be a part of the conversation around childhood health, and by taking steps to educate yourself and understand your role as a parent, you are setting your child up for lifelong hearing.
Happy hearing! Lara and Mabel | Wise Little Ears