In 2000, 5.2 million 6-19 year old had hearing loss directly related to noise exposure [3rd National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, reported on Dangerous Decibels ( http://www.dangerousdecibels.org/ ).
According to a study done by Montgomery and Fujukawa in 1992, “Over the last 10 years, the percentage of 2nd graders with hearing loss has increased 2.8 times; hearing loss in 8th graders has increased over 4 times.”
No one knows exactly what level damages a child’s ears, but the Noise Center’s Rule of Thumb is: IF YOU HAVE TO SHOUT TO BE HEARD THREE FEET AWAY, THE NOISE IS TOO LOUD AND IS DAMAGING TO YOUR HEARING.
For what you can do, go here: http://www.topten.org/public/BQ/BQ173.html .
1. “Noise poses a serious threat to children’s hearing, health, learning and behavior,” says the NoiseCenter.
They suggest offering your child peace and quiet.
2. Younger ears are not stronger than older ears.
Children’s ear canals are shorter than adults, and damage more easily.
3. Check out the toys your child plays with.
Talk with your pediatrician. A study conducted by the Henry Ford Health System found that many current toys, including tape recorders, bike horns, cap guns, and toy telephones, are not safe for your child’s hearing. Of the 25 they tested, more than half made sounds higher than 115 dBs. According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, at 110 dB, the maximum undamaging exposure time is one minute and 29 seconds.
4. Prevention is crucial because noise-induced hearing loss can’t be corrected.
A loud enough noise can cause instant, permanent, irreversible damage, some noises can cause damage if heard long enough, and there is also a cumulative effect over time.
5. A noisy squeeze toy is rated 135 decibels (dB) by the League for the Hard of Hearing.
Check out their website for more information – http://www.lhh.org/noise/decibel.htm .
6. Noise levels above 85 dB will harm hearing over time and noise levels above 140dB can cause damage to hearing after just one exposure. Source – http://www.lhh.org/noise/decibel.htm .
Here’s a list of sounds:
· 0 dB The softest sound a person can hear with normal hearing aka “hearing threshold”
· 10 dB normal breathing
· 20 dB whispering at 5 feet, broadcasting studio, rustling leaves
· 30 dB soft whisper, library
· 50 dB rainfall, light traffic, average home
· 60 dB normal conversation, air conditioning unit
· 85 dB noisy restaurant
· 110-120 dB rock concert, speedboat, headphones on maximum
· 110 dB shouting in ear, baby crying, many power tools
· 120 dB thunder, jet takeoff at 200’
· 180 dB rocket launching
7. Harm can occur with 103 dB after 7.5 minutes, 106 dB after less than 4 minutes, 109 dB after less than 2 minutes, and 115 dB after around 30 seconds. (Source: http://www.dangerousdecibels.org/ )
8. Supervise your teenagers as many things they like can be damaging.
· Clubs and discos, 91 – 96 dB
· Dance floor, 85 – 100 dB
· At the bar, 90 dB or more
· Personal stereo systems, 60 – 114 dB
· Rock concerts, 100 dB or more average
· Car stereos, up to 154 dB in the car!!
· Home stereo, 80 – 115 dB
9. If you take kids hunting or to a shooting range, take hearing protectors along.
Firearms are all high and a single exposure can cause permanent hearing loss. Examples, 12-guage shotgun, 150-165 dB, shotgun, 163-172 dB, rifle, 143-170 dB. Most firearms start at 100 dB and can go as high as 190 dB.
Supervise their use of power tools. A firecracker can also cause immediate damage.
10. Video arcade visits, computer games and action movies should also be monitored.
Noise levels at video arcades can exceed 100 decibels (similar to factory machinery), computer games can go as high as 135 dB (the level of a jackhammer), and an action movie is generally beyond 90 dB.
All values are approximate as conditions vary. This is not medical advice. See your personal healthcare professional for advice specific to you and your child.