Childhood is a time of development, mentally but also physically, and both facets affect hearing. It is not only necessary to develop good listening practices, but also to take care of the organs of the ear to avoid permanent damage.
This is especially important in summer, when children frequently use headphones for travel and vacation. The irresponsible use of these can cause problems if they are not used following the recommended safety measures.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), harmful hearing practices cause disabling hearing losses in more than 34 million children worldwide, according to 2019 data.
Headphones, the enemy?
No. The enemy is the irresponsible use of them.
The use of headphones, given the private nature of listening, can be a problem for many parents and caregivers as they do not really realize the volume at which they are playing. Music, as you know, is a pleasure that in childhood and adolescence one tends to want to enjoy the higher, the better.
The main tips to avoid hearing problems in children are not to use the in-ear headphones, commonly known as “earbuds”; carry out regular hearing checks and do not allow children to exceed the time of use of the headphones. The recommended daily use of headphones is one hour.
Contrary to what it may seem, resorting to headphones with isolation or noise cancellation, can be dangerous in the case of children. It is true that this technology allows to use a smaller volume, but it also carries dangers for the little ones. Sound insulation and noise cancellation deprive them of hearing alert sounds around us, such as the horn of a car or the call of another person, which can lead to dangerous situations for them.
The easiest and safest is to opt for headphones created specifically for children. For example, the KidJamz 3 MEE audio, designed for use between ages 4 and 12. They are comfortable, they fit perfectly; Impact resistant, they have a resistant cable, they are available in three different finishes and, most importantly, they include a volume limiter that, when activated, prevents children from using them at levels harmful to their hearing. However, it is possible to deactivate it in specific situations, such as in a noisy airport, so that children can continue listening to content.
What volume in headphones is suitable for children?
Experts recommend that children wear the headphones for kids for up to one hour a day at a sound pressure (commonly known as “volume”) of 85dB so as not to risk noise damage.
But how much is 85 dB? It is difficult to measure without a sound level meter, but we offer you some indicative measurements based on sounds that we know perfectly:
A normal conversation, the noise from the pipes or from the fridge, is between 30 and 50 dB. The alarm clock, the high-volume television, or a busy street are between 50 and 85 dB.
When the 85 dB is crossed, the sensation can be annoying, and in the case of children if the sound pressure is maintained, there is a risk of hearing damage that can be permanent.
For example, in traffic jams there is an average of 90dB, as well as the pressure achieved by the police sirens. Clubs are about 110 dB, drills and car horns produce 120 dB. When the 120 dB is held for minutes, the adult human ear goes into pain and there is a risk of deafness.
Developing healthy listening habits during childhood not only prevents damage to the ear canal, but also protects from future damage, as an adult. The ears are a delicate and sensitive organ, which should be cared for to maintain the quality of life.