According to research, 40 percent of hearing loss is caused by genetic factors. The remaining 60 percent of factors are preventable according to the World Health Organization.
Some preventable causes of hearing loss at a young age include infections, birth complications and exposure to toxic medications among others. Loud noise too can be a contributing factor to hearing loss.Below we discuss some of the ways in which hearing loss can be prevented.
Model Safe Listening Habits
Teaching your child on the various causes of hearing loss such as loud music and the importance of protecting themselves from such is paramount. It creates an awareness of the dangers these factors possess. It also creates a culture of knowledge among children where the value of hearing is not underestimated. Practical ways of achieving this include turning down the television or other electronic devices when the noise is too loud and teaching your kids to cover years when they are abruptly exposed to loud noise in the environment. Encouraging schools to also raise awareness of hearing dangers to students is another important step.
Buy Noise-Limiting Headphones
Young children are more sensitive to noise as compared to adults. They also tend to crank up the volume so high that it might in the long term affect their hearing. Exposure to sound levels above 85 decibels can be particularly harmful to your child.Experts also advise parents not to let their children listen to headphones for more than two hours, even if the sound is limited and can’t go beyond 85 decibels.Most noise-limiting headphones nowadays come with a child-friendly design and are comfortable to wear.
It is important to get children noise-limiting headphones that they are attracted to since this ensures that a large percentage will use these headphones even when you are not around.
Invest in ear protection
Sometimes certain aspects of the environment are unavoidable. These include noises from trains if you live near a station or near rail tracks. Noise from concerts too can be inevitable.In these cases, you can get your child noise canceling headphones. These reduce noise from places such as concerts, places with loud music and occasions where fireworks are used.Other types of hearing protectors can also be used.
Earmuffs too are a great investment, and they ensure that your child’s delicate ears are protected from loud noises in the environment. Earmuffs with child-like designs are available.
Be Careful What Toys You Get Your Child
Toys which are too loud can hurt your baby’s ears. The damage is not noticeable at first but may affect your children’s hearing when they are middle-aged.The damage from these toys is cumulative, and this makes them very dangerous.Even though most of these toys when operated in the right way are harmless, children often misuse them. You need to screen these toys first by holding them a distance of about a foot from your face and listen to them.If you wince at the noise, they are not safe.You should either put sellotape over the speakers or keep them away from your child. You can also report such toys to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Measles, mumps, and rubella are the leading causes of hearing loss worldwide. You need to vaccinate your child early enough against these diseases to prevent hearing loss. Early vaccination also prevents the spread of these diseases to other children who have not been vaccinated due to various health conditions.
Preventing Your Child from Ototoxic Medications if Possible
These drugs can damage the ear or cause balance disorders. At the moment there are about 200 known ototoxic drugs both prescription and over the counter in the world.The damage posed by these drugs may either be reversible through therapy and other times they can cause permanent damage. Before a medication is prescribed to your child, you need to discuss with your doctor the possible effects it may have on your child. If the condition is severe and administration of these drugs cannot be halted, the audiologist can advise on ways to manage the effects of the drugs.
If you are around Staten Island, New York, you can visit the Audiology Island clinic for hearing tests and advise on any other ear-related complication. Here you will be met by accomplished audiologists namely Dr. Stella Fulman and Dr. Zhanetta Shapiro.
About Dr Zhanneta Shapiro
Dr Zhanneta Shapiro received her Masters of Science from Brooklyn College in 2005 and completed her Doctorate of Audiology from Florida University in May 2008. Her graduate training was in various hospitals in the tri-state area and a residency period completed at Ear Nose and Throat Associates of New York. [ Learn More ]