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Back-to-School Activities That Can Put Children’s Hearing at Risk

As kids head back to school, parents, teachers and citizens at large can expect to see teenagers bopping along with earbuds and headphones tethered to their personal mp3 players. It's a sight that has some in the medical community concerned.

The Journal of Pediatrics notes that the increase in earphone use has led to a spike in hearing loss among children between the ages of 6 and 19. The publication says 12.5 per cent of children in that demographic have developed hearing loss because they use earphones with the volume turned up too high.

Other factors that play a role in the rise in hearing loss among children include: loud urban environments, head trauma through physical sports, and excessive noise from video games, movies and other media. With this being back-to-school season, we thought we would list five things parents can do to protect their children's hearing for this school year and beyond.

1. Turn Down the Music

Parents must monitor the volume and should limit the use of earbud headphones. Noise-dampening headphones are both fashionable and less damaging to hearing.

2. Play Music With Caution

Band practice — whether it be at school or after school with friends — is one of the most popular extra-curricular activities for kids. Keeping music enjoyable for years to come means using the same precautions when playing drums and guitars as when listening to music on a personal mp3 player. Give your kids earplugs and show them examples of all the many musicians who wear ear protection both to protect their hearing and to fine tune their musicianship.

3. Practice Good Ear Health

Ear infections are the most common reason parents will bring their child to a doctor, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. If your child complains about pain in the ears, consult your family physician, who can check to see if there is excessive build up of earwax or an infection.

4. Wear the Right Equipment for Sports

Kids who bike ride, rollerblade, or skateboard are at risk of increased head trauma if they don't wear proper protection. Simple precautions like wearing a helmet can reduce the chances of permanent damage to brain function, including hearing.

5. Get Their Hearing Tested

Children can receive free hearing health tests through their physicians and public medical clinics in Canada.

Back to school is the perfect time to get kids thinking about their hearing health. They will be more likely to keep up the routine of regular hearing screenings if they see their parents doing so. Adults can receive complimentary hearing tests at any Connect Hearing clinic in Canada. Book your free test now.

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