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Listen Up! Protect the Precious Ears of the Little Ones You Love

Posted Jan 21 2010 7:14am

NOTE FROM SUSAN: I recently received the following information from Global Influence, on behalf of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA). If you or any of your children use headphones, it’s important to use them wisely to prevent hearing loss, which is increasing among children. This article explains more.

Did you know that when MP3 players are purchased as gifts, the majority of purchasers are moms? That finding emerged at the Mommy Tech summit at the recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show.

But do you know about the potential risks? Kids often don’t know how to use audio technology safely, and they can harm their hearing as a result. In fact, hearing loss among young people is reported to be on the rise and there are strong concerns that a generation of young people could end up with prevalent hearing loss.

“For some time, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has warned that hearing loss in the United States could rise significantly due to the misuse of personal audio technology,” ASHA President Tommie L. Robinson, Jr. explains. “Unfortunately, a report released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation cites some alarming trends about excessive entertainment media consumption among our nation's children, indirectly supporting ASHA’s concerns. This should be a warning to parents that they must regulate children's exposure and fully understand the potential health threats associated with misuse and over exposure to such technologies.”

“ASHA will continue to bring these issues to the forefront and appreciates the Kaiser Family Foundation's contributions to the national dialogue,” Robinson adds.

According to a 2004 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, children were reported as being exposed to 6 hours and 21 minutes of media (TV, music, internet, etc) per day. By 2009, this statistic had increased dramatically to 7 hours and 38 minutes per day. When media multitasking is taken into account, this leaps to 10 hours and 45 minutes per day. This massive consumption of media has led to decreased grades in school and ASHA contends it puts kids at an increased risk of hearing loss.

One thing that is clear from the study is that parents can be very positive influencers on how their children use entertainment media.

Whether your child received an MP3 player, gaming device, cell phone, laptop, or any other device with headphones, don't overlook the important health threat of hearing loss. Now is the time to reach out to other parents about the importance of hearing loss prevention, the damaging effects of excessive media consumption, and the resources available to them through ASHA.

Here are two simple ways to protect your children’s -- and your own -- hearing.

Keep the volume down. A good guide is half volume.

Limit listening time. Give your hearing “quiet breaks.”

Find more information and statistics at ASHA's website. You can also follow their Twitter feed or fan them on Facebook to get real time updates on their work.




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