Tag: earplugs

The Best Hearing Health Accessories for Children

The Best Hearing Health Accessories for Children

Most people associate hearing loss only with seniors, and they consider it a natural part of getting older. The reality is that it affects people of all ages. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 34 million children live with a disabling hearing loss, and approximately 60% of cases are linked to preventable causes.

 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best hearing health accessories for children!

 

Earplugs

The best defense against damaging sound is always going to be ear protection. Whether it’s because of loud music, noisy vehicles, or the use of power tools around the house, reducing exposure to high-decibel sounds is the best way to prevent sudden-onset hearing loss or the exacerbation of existing hearing loss. Custom-fitted earplugs are a comfortable and convenient solution, and normalizing their use at a young age instills good hearing care habits.

 

BTE Hearing Aids

For a child who already has hearing loss, behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are widely considered the best, style-wise. BTE aids are comfortable and durable, and many come in a variety of fun colors. Children as young as four weeks old can be fitted with a BTE aid, so they are ideal for infants born with hearing loss, and they remain the ideal hearing technology until the teenage years!

 

Hearing Assistive Technology

Also known as HATS, these systems are often used in conjunction with hearing aids to help a child with hearing loss hear better in the classroom. Frequency modulation systems, or FM systems, are the most common, but sound-field systems may also be used (and can help children with normal hearing as well). To inquire about implementing hearing assistive technology in the classroom, speak to the administration at your child’s school.

 

Hearing Aid Charms

One of the best ways to get kids excited about their technology is to turn it into something fun that expresses their individuality. There are many charms, stickers, and tube twists that can be purchased both from licensed hearing aid manufacturers and from third parties. You can customize hearing aids and truly make them part of your child’s outfit and personality. A child’s only limitation is their imagination!

 

Ear Suspenders

Wearing hearing aids is more challenging for children than for adults, since children are so active and can easily lose small objects. Ear suspenders are a type of stretchy headband designed to hold hearing aids firmly in place during nearly every activity. They are superior to shirt clips in that they prevent the devices from falling out. It’s a comfortable, practical solution to your child’s rambunctious lifestyle. Plus, they’re fashionable!

 

Caring for a child with hearing loss can be challenging, but you’re not alone. For more information about these products or to schedule a hearing consultation with our team, contact us today. We’re here to help!

Hand Dryers: For Kids, Beware the Noise

It’s no secret that hand dryers installed in public bathrooms can seem rather loud, but we were blown away by a young scientist’s findings when she put the volume levels of 44 automated machines to the test in restrooms across Alberta, Canada.

Turns out some of those volumes can do a number on kids’ ears — which are more susceptible to noise-induced hearing problems — by reaching sound levels well beyond the danger zone of 85 decibels. Several of the various brands measured above 100 decibels when in actual use for hand-drying, and one was even greater than 120.

The study, by then-9-year-old Nora Keegan, has captured international attention, with coverage by the New York Times, CNN, Canada’s CBC, and other media outlets. Now 13, Keegan is likely one of the youngest researchers to have her work published in the journal Pediatrics & Child Health.

Per an NPR story, the Calgary student was inspired by the ringing in her ears and other kids’ reactions to hand-dryer noise to get to the bottom of just how loud the dryers — a common presence in public washrooms around the world — can be and whether they might negatively impact hearing ability.

Her research, published this past summer after an approximately 15-month investigation, interestingly noted that some of the automated machines’ higher readings surpassed the legal limit of 100 decibels for peak loudness of children’s toys in Canada.

A few other notable findings from this timely research:

  • “Not all hand dryers are equal in their hearing safety.”
  • Various dryers are potentially louder than some manufacturers’ claims.
  • Dryer noise is “much louder at children’s heights than at adult height.”

According to Keegan, the study’s “results can be used to guide regulators, builders, and landlords in making decisions about which dryers to install in public facilities.” The investigation also highlights “the importance of measuring dryer loudness at the location of children’s ears” — versus that of adults, who are typically taller.


What’s the big deal?

Noise exposure, one of the most preventable risk factors, is a leading cause of hearing impairment — second only to aging. Over a billion children and adults are vulnerable to recreational noise-related hearing impairment alone, per the World Health Organization, making it essential to keep the volume down.

One of the most effective actions you can take is to prevent or limit your child’s exposure to excessively loud noise. Keeping hearing protection on hand — including custom earplugs, headphones, or earmuffs to help temper loud sounds, can also go a long way toward preserving your child’s hearing.