Has home schooling impacted your kids hearing?
Persistent lockdowns in Victoria have resulted in many kids spending much of this year doing their learning online. The juggle of work and school being all from home has meant that headphone use has been necessary to manage competing devices, often in the same room when supervising home schooling. When headphones are plugged in though, parents are not able to monitor the volume of sound their children are being exposed to as easily, and if set too high, this could result in irreversible damage to precious young ears.
Hearing is damaged by loud noise when it reaches a certain level of loudness, weighted against a certain length of exposure. In the workplace, there are rules around maximum noise levels that workers can be exposed to over an 8 hour day, but when we are working and schooling from home, parents must play yet another role, this time as OH&S officers to check noise exposure levels.
As a general rule of thumb when it comes to your child’s use of headphones, if you can hear the sound coming from the headphones while they are wearing them, then it is probably too loud and putting their hearing at risk.
It is a good idea to check the type of headphones being used and see if they can be noise limited – which is different from noise cancelling. Noise limiting headphones ensure that the amount of sound coming out is limited to a safe level. It is also worth exploring the device that is being used for any limitations that can be applied to the sound settings internally to limit the output, regardless of the headphones. Apple devices for example have a headphone safety setting that can reduce loud sounds and can also cap the overall sound level that can be produced by the device.
The option of a quick hearing check to put your mind at ease has been tricky due to lockdowns, but audiologists are still able to provide a comprehensive kids hearing test as this is considered essential and urgent to prevent longer term complications. Even if you are not concerned, it can be worth booking in a kids hearing test to establish a baseline should concerns arise.
Signs that your child might need a hearing test include things like needing to turn up or sit closer to the TV or other devices, asking for repeats, especially in the presence of other noise, or not responding when called from another room.
At Victorian Hearing, our experienced paediatric audiologists have extensive training in the assessment of kids hearing at all ages. A kid’s hearing test is pain free, and even if you feel it is probably nothing to be worried about, the best outcome is always to check for peace of mind.
Call or email us today to discuss your kids hearing test needs.