Health Matters Spring 2022 | Page 22

The effects of noise on children

Hearing is easy to take for granted . Many people are born and grow up without ever experiencing compromised hearing . But that does not mean people , including children , don ’ t routinely engage in activities that could adversely affect their hearing .
According to the Environmental Protection Agency , children are no strangers to recreational activities that can harm their hearing . Children who attend sporting events , musical concerts and even holiday celebrations like fireworks shows may be at risk of losing their hearing .
Parents who are careful and cognizant of the many ways noise poses a threat to children , potentially affecting both their physical and psychological health , can put themselves in better position to protect their youngsters from noise-related damage .

What is noise ?

The EPA defines noise as any unwanted or disagreeable sound . Noise is sound that can become harmful and interfere with a child ’ s normal activities . For example , noise can interfere with a child ’ s ability to sleep and diminish youngsters ’ quality of life .

How does noise threaten children ?

• Noise can affect kids ’ development . Repeated exposure to noise during certain developmental periods can affect a child ’ s ability to acquire language-related skills like reading and listening . In addition , noisy environments , such as noisy homes , can make it hard for children to learn .
• Noise can affect the cardiovascular system . The
EPA reports that children who are chronically exposed to loud noise may suffer from elevated blood pressure and other cardiovascular ailments .

How common are hearing problems ?

Hearing problems in children may be more common than some parents recognize . The American Academy of Otolaryngology reports that three million children under the age of 18 have some kind of hearing difficulty .

Protecting kids from noise

Though noise can affect youngsters ’ overall health , the experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine note that parents can try various strategies
to prevent noise-induced hearing loss .
• Wear earplugs or ear muffs when around loud noise . Earplugs fit into the outer ear and ear muffs fit over the entire outside of the ear .
• Reduce the amount of time spent on noisy activities .
• Teach kids to walk away from the sources of loud noises . Children should be instructed to stand far back from the stage and away from amplifiers when attending concerts . Failure to do so can contribute to tinnitus , a ringing or buzzing sound in the ear associated with hearing loss .
Noise induced hearing loss is preventable . Recognizing the threat noise poses to youngsters ’ health is a great first step for parents .
— Metro Creative Connection


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