Connect Hearing says discussion is needed on the sport's affect on hearing health
For Immediate Release
VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA (June 5, 2013) — Hockey Canada's ban on hitting in the peewee ranks of the sport were done to protect kids from suffering injuries. But the lack of bodychecking will also improve the health of Canada's hockey-playing children beyond what might happen to their bones. Along with reducing the amount of concussions children will incur, Hockey Canada's removal of bodychecking for children under 13 will also improve their hearing health, Connect Hearing says.
High-impact sports, including hockey and football, have long been known to diminish hearing health, leading to such problems as dizziness, vertigo and motion sickness.
"Bodychecking can result in a concussion, which is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a sudden blow to the head. The impact can cause the brain to bump against the skull resulting in a temporary disruption of the normal electrical activity of the brain. This temporary disruption can become permanent with repeated concussions, which can lead to vertigo or ringing in the ears," says Connect Hearing Director of Professional Practice MJ DeSousa.
Even without hitting, hockey players will face the potential of hearing damage because of the physical and unpredictable nature of the sport.
"It isn't only through bodychecking where injuries can occur. Falls on the ice are routine in hockey, especially for those learning the sport. Players can accidentally bang their heads into the boards or goalposts or even each other. All of those impacts can cause cumulative damage to brain function," DeSousa points out.
Connect Hearing, Canada's leading network of hearing-health clinics, suggests parents monitor all of the on-ice impacts their kids incur and be proactive about talking to their pediatrician about signs and symptoms of mild and more significant concussions and how to monitor and treat these.
"Concussions are often difficult to diagnose because the symptoms may not be apparent to an observer. You need to monitor the child's behaviour, looking for anything that may be out of character. For example, depression can be one of the symptoms of both concussions and hearing loss," DeSousa informs. "More than 3 million Canadians have some form of hearing loss, and we are seeing Canadians at younger and younger ages being affected."
Besides hockey, other sports also have high-impact risks that can be damaging to hearing health. The heading of balls in soccer has been known to cause dizziness and head trauma. Likewise, tackling in football can lead to permanent and debilitating brain injuries. Even riding a bicycle puts you at a greater risk of concussions.
"Sports are one of the most enjoyable aspects of life in Canada. The goal shouldn't be to remove sports from our life, but to take the necessary precautions to ensure we stay connected to the sounds and activities we love. Parents should be aware of the risks to the auditory system. There is also a huge opportunity for parents to advocate for better helmets to minimize the risks of concussions in the various sports our kids love. Most helmets used today protect well against skull fracture but not against concussions," DeSousa notes.
About Connect Hearing
With 112 clinics across Canada, Connect Hearing is Canada’s largest network of hearing professionals. Community involvement, including the provision of complimentary hearing screenings, is at the core of Connect Hearing’s practices, which allow people to stay connected to the sounds that bring joy to their lives. Since 2010, Connect Hearing has annually been named one of “The Best Workplaces in Canada” in a survey of employees from companies around the nation. For more information or to find the Connect Hearing clinic closest to you, visit www.connecthearing.ca.
Deb Morse, Elevation PR