Young teenage girls listening to music | Clarity Hearing

Scott Marquardt, Au.D.

Study shows portable music players are causing hearing damage in kids
  • Scott Marquardt, Au.D.

We all remember being a kid and blasting out music in your bedroom, getting completely lost in the magic of your favourite tune. Shortly after the arrival of tapes came Walkmans, which evolved into portable CD players, mp3 players and eventually iPods and cellphones, meaning we could get the same experience while walking down the street.

But has technology evolved too far? Volume settings are louder than ever, headphones come equipped with features to apparently enhance the experience for the user, but are they actually causing more harm in the long run?

Reuters Health recently reported that a whopping 14% of children tested (3,316 children aged 9-11) had some problems hearing at higher frequencies. Hearing loss in children is most often due to exposure to loud music.

Kids who used personal music players just one or two days each week were actually twice as likely to experience hearing loss than kids who never use the devices. Interesting, especially when you consider that only 40% of 9-11 year olds use these players, this figure rises to 90% when they become teenagers.

Hearing loss is irreversible, so avoiding it where possible is key to ensuring your children have excellent hearing health throughout their lives. 

Rule #1: If you can hear it, it’s too loud

If your child is listening to their music and you can hear it, that means the volume is too high to be safe for their ears.

Rule #2: Try to avoid habits

Listening to loud music on the way to/from school, or at regular times can fast become a bad habit. Try to limit your child’s time listening to personal music players.  If they are musically-minded, encourage them to listen on a stereo (at a safe volume, of course).

Rule #3: It isn’t just music

Be aware that music isn’t the only issue when it comes to your child’s hearing. The noises they hear at band practice, power tools when helping in the garage, lawn mowers, mopeds and dirt bikes can all cause damage too.

Detecting damage early on is the best thing you can do, so get them booked in for a hearing screening with our friendly audiologists here at Hearing with Clarity.