American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Resources for Parents

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is caused by exposure to loud sounds and usually occurs painlessly over a period of time. However, it may occur from one exposure to an extremely loud noise. Research suggests that NIHL is occurring at younger ages and with more frequency. Noise from personal headphones has the potential to cause hearing loss, but NIHL can be prevented.

Teach Your Child It’s Too Loud If

  • The must raise your voice to be heard
  • The have difficulty understanding someone who's an arm's length away
  • They have pain, ringing, or buzzing in their ears, or sounds are muffled after exposure to loud sounds

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Protect Your Children’s Hearing

Whether it’s an MP3 player, gaming device, cell phone, laptop, or another device that your child uses with headphones, don’t overlook the potential health risk of hearing loss from misuse of technology. Here are some simple steps to prevent noise-induced hearing loss related to the use of headphones:

  • Keep the volume down—a good guide is half volume
  • Limit listening time and give your hearing "quiet breaks"
  • Model good listening habits for your children

Consequences of Hearing Loss

  • Difficulty speaking and understanding verbal communication
  • Problems in academic achievement including language arts, vocabulary, arithmetic, and problem solving
  • Lower scores on achievement and verbal IQ tests
  • Greater need for enrollment in special education or extra support in the classroom
  • Feelings of isolation, exclusion, embarrassment, annoyance, confusion, and helplessness
  • A reluctance to participate in activities with others
  • Significant problems following directions
  • Numerous physiological changes, sleep difficulties, digestive problems, delayed emotional development, stress related disorders, behavior problems, body fatigue, and possible immunological effects

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