School is out for the summer. That means kids have three months with lots of spare time.  With an increase in downtime comes binge watching and music listening, often times with the use of headphones.

While headphones can keep your kids quiet and spare you from getting the latest Taylor Swift song stuck in your head, there are risks to you children’s hearing health that come with the misuse of headphones.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Personal music players are often linked with noise-induced hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is caused by exposure to loud noises and is unfortunately permanent.

In order to prevent this type of hearing loss, it is important to understand when a sound is too loud. Sound is measured in decibels. Anything over 85 dB (heavy New jersey traffic) can cause damage after eight hours. Sounds over 100 dB (motorcycle) can cause damage after 15 minutes. And finally, sounds over 120 dB (jackhammer) can cause immediate damage.

Researchers have been studying how personal music players relate to hearing loss. A 2010 study found that a pair of standard earbuds paired with an iPod set to its maximum volume produces an average sound level of 96 dB. This is higher than what is legally allowed in a workplace.

One study found that 25 percent of those who use personal music players are exposed to daily noise that is loud enough to cause damage. Another study found that 90 percent of all adolescents listen to music using earbuds; almost half listen at a high-volume setting.

How to Protect Yourself

The best way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss is to simply turn the volume down.

Experts suggest implementing the 60/60 rule. This rule states that you should listen to music at 60 percent of the volume for 60 minutes a day. Researchers have concluded that this volume for this length of time will not cause any harm to your hearing.

Below is a list of suggestions to help you protect your children from noise-induced hearing loss:

  • Replace in-ear, bud-style headphones with over-the-ear models.
  • Set a sound limit. Many new music players allow parents to set a listening limit which is password protected.
  • Purchase kid-safe headphones. These headphones are designed especially for children and have a lower-than-normal maximum volume level.

For more about protecting you children’s ears this summer or other related information, visit HearMD.com or call (856) 602-400 to schedule an appointment.