Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in Children: The Silent Epidemic

05/21/2024 | Hearing Loss

While many people associate hearing loss with aging, hearing loss can affect anyone—even children. 

The World Health Organization estimates that global hearing loss numbers are likely to double by 2050, and those numbers don’t just include people aged 70-plus. But how do children get hearing loss? 

While age-related hearing loss—also known as presbycusis—is still the most common form of hearing loss, one that’s been climbing up the ranks is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Many of us assume that we get noise-induced hearing loss from one sudden, loud blast of sound, but the reality is slightly less explosive. 

Causes of noise-induced hearing loss are mostly the cumulative effects of excessive noise exposure, like listening to loud noises over a longer period of time. 

Think about your child for a moment. How much time do they spend with their earbuds or headphones on, listening to loud music? Do they attend public school, where fire alarms and boisterous children can get loud and overstimulating?  

Chances are, if your child’s been struggling with hearing recently, it could be due to noise-induced hearing loss. More and more kids these days sit in front of the TV or personal tablets with the volume cranked up loud—they don’t know they’re causing noise-induced hearing loss, and to be fair, neither did you—until now.  

Apple AirPods Max produce a maximum volume of 100 decibels (dB; just 20 minutes of wear with those earbuds in can cause damage to your child’s ears. 

So even if you have to pull the “boring” parent card and ask them to turn down the volume to save their hearing, it’s well worth it to help them avoid further hearing loss later in life. Parents are often described as having to wear their hearts on their sleeves—when it comes to our children, I understand why. 

Concerned About Your Child’s Hearing? 

We know that as parents, we’d do whatever it took to make sure our children grow up as happy and healthy as possible. If you’ve noticed your child has been struggling with their hearing, we’re here to help.  

A comprehensive hearing assessment could help you and your child understand their current range of hearing, as well as put into perspective the importance of monitoring the volume on their devices. We know that this sort of environment can be stressful for children—we’ll do our best to make it as comfortable as possible for your child, even if it takes longer or even multiple appointments. 

Please feel free to request a callback to tell us more about your child’s situation, and we’ll contact you to deliver advice and schedule a good time for an appointment. Alternatively, you can call us at (907) 522-4357 to talk to us more immediately. 

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Dr. Emily E McMahan

Dr. McMahan attended the University of Cincinnati where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2009. She furthered her professional education by obtaining her Doctorate of Audiology from Salus University in Philadelphia in 2013. She completed her residency in Anchorage and has been applying her expertise to her patients in the Pacific Northwest for several years. Whether you need hearing testing, hearing aids, or assistance with managing tinnitus in your daily lives, Dr. McMahan is qualified to assist you!

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