Amid the fever-pitch buzz surrounding the newest, most innovative technologies on display at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, the award-winning Listen To Your Buds campaign of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is spreading an important health message that all parents and kids need to hear. As iPads, Kindle Fires, and other tablets; smart phones; and similar technologies become near-ubiquitous, toddlers to teens are at risk for untimely, irreversible hearing loss.
Noise-induced hearing loss is completely preventable. Unfortunately, hearing loss is growing more common in younger and younger segments of America's population. At the same time, personal audio technology use in on the rise—in even the smallest of children. Consider the following:
- 75% of kids ages 8 and under have access to a smart mobile device at home, up from 52% in 2011.
- Almost 40% of children under 2 have used a mobile device, up from 10% 2 years ago.
- One in six adolescents has high-frequency hearing loss, which is typically noise related and preventable.
- Despite this, more than 96% of parents believe their child is either not at risk or only slightly at risk of developing hearing problems from excessive noise. Almost 70% have not spoken with their child about noise exposure, mainly because of perceived low risk.
Since 2006, the Listen To Your Buds campaign has educated the public about the risk of hearing loss in children from unsafe use of personal audio technology, particularly ear buds or headphones. The Buds have spread their message at the Consumer Electronics Show since 2008. Consumer Electronics Association is a partner in the campaign.
The Buds want all kids to enjoy their technology, but to do so safely. It couldn't be easier with these simple steps:
- Keep the Volume Down. A good guide is half volume.
- Limit Listening Time. Give your hearing "quiet breaks."
- Talk to Your Kids. Discuss and model safe listening habits.
In addition to practicing preventative safe listening habits, parents need to learn the early signs of hearing loss in kids. These are not always easy to spot, and many parents are not looking for them. Early detection of hearing loss in children is critical, as hearing problems that are left untreated can result in academic, social, and other difficulties. For more information about early signs and treatment options, visit ASHA's new early detection initiative, Identify the Signs, at http://identifythesigns.org/.
About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 166,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, speech, language, and hearing scientists, audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel, and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders. www.asha.org/