Hearing Loss in Children:
A Condition that Knows No Age

It is a common misconception that hearing loss mainly impacts the aging. While it is true that a large portion of those over 65 experience auditory damage, nearly 7 million children and 8 million people between the ages of 18 and 44 suffer from hearing loss of various levels*. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that 15% of children experience aural impairment in one or both ears. Because this is a seminal study, no previous data exists for comparison.

Why is Hearing Loss Dangerous for Children? The problem of hearing loss in children is exacerbated further by the existence of excessive noise levels in our everyday environment. Although researchers can blame several factors, such as genetics or infections, for this phenomenon, noise is certainly a primary concern. The League for the Hard of Hearing compiled the following noise level readings for everyday sounds (for comparison, normal speech levels record around 60 dBA):
  • Refrigerator - 50 dBA
  • Air conditioner - 50-75 dBA
  • Coffee grinder - 70-80 dBA
  • Doorbell - 80 dBA
  • Garbage disposal - 80-95 dBA
  • Baby crying - 110 dBA
  • Squeaky toy held close to the ear - 110 dBA
It is commonly agreed that continued exposure to 85dB or more can cause hearing damage.

Children who suffer from poor hearing health are exposed to a variety of related problems, such as:
  • Educational disadvantages
  • Social withdrawal
  • Delayed speech and language development
Causes of Hearing Loss in Children Beyond exposure to loud noises, there are a variety of factors that may trigger hearing loss in children, including:
  • Genetics
  • Ear infections
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Allergies
  • Ototoxic medications (such as penicillin, amoxicillin, aspirin, etc…)
Preserving our hearing is a universal responsibility - we all have a role to play. Educate and protect our children. Hearing is a gift that, once lost, will not return.

*According to the Better Hearing Institute.

For more information, also read Hearing Loss In Children: A Hypothetical Example.

For a list of other related articles on Acoustics.com, please click here.

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