Protect your child's hearing this summer
It's no secret that children love noisy activities. The louder, the dirtier, the better, right? As stressful and exhausting as keeping your kids entertained can be, you don't want to be the stuffy overprotective parent who keeps your children penned up inside a bubble. But protecting their hearing is essential, especially since juvenile hearing loss directly affects a child’s cognitive development and, consequently, their learning ability. By taking a series of precautionary measures for your child this summer, you can be safe while still having lots of loud fun.
Swimming isn't necessarily a loud activity, but it can be the cause of swimmers ear, where excess water remains in the ear, creating a moist environment ideal for bacterial infections. Pay attention to your child if he or she complains of an irritating sound in their ear after getting out of the water.
Generally, swimmer’s ear is an easy fix; tilting your head and pressing your palm to your ear like a suction cup generally sucks out the remaining water. Even if it turns into a larger problem, minor infections are usually treatable with ear drops alone. If left untreated, however, swimmer's ear can cause more serious infections that could damage your child's hearing.
Camp is synonymous with a childhood summer and creates lasting memories for your children and their friends. If your child is headed to camp somewhere, make sure he or she has a dop kit packed with hearing health essentials like earplugs and ear drops. Ask the camp counselor what sorts of environments and activities your child will be around, and show your child how to use both the plugs and the drops in case they're needed.
Minor issues can snowball into major issues if ignored, so you can head off any potential problems by preparing your children in advance and arming them with the proper tools.
Fireworks are the best part of July! They're also the noisiest, however, and the sudden eruption of sound can be extremely damaging to your hearing if you’re too close to the action. If you're headed to a fireworks show, make sure to sit at a safe distance from where the fireworks are being lit, whether it be a private or public show.
Also keep a set of earplugs with you; sometimes distance isn't enough to soften the boom. The same goes for air shows, monster truck shows, summer concerts and all the other fun outdoor activities that specialize in engines and explosions.
Sports events like baseball games are a great source of entertainment for both you and your child, but the roar of the the crowd, the music and the announcers can be a little rough on the ears. As always, keep earplugs in your pocket or purse, and sit far away from any loudspeakers whenever possible. (This includes PA systems as well as screaming fans. We’re looking at you, Little League moms.) Taking small measures to reduce excessive noises can make a big difference in the long run.
Keeping your child away from potentially harmful noises isn’t always possible, but being aware of the effects of prolonged exposure to damaging sounds is important when taking your child out. Regular audiology check-ups should be a part of your child’s doctor routine as well. The audiologist will be able to identify any developing issues with your child, in addition to providing you with tips to prevent hearing loss! Ready to kick-start your child's relationship with healthy hearing? Find an audiologist in your area today!