Guy Fawkes’ night is fast approaching, but have you thought about how important it is to protect those little ears? In fact, in every day life there are dangers to hearing. We turned to the guys at Action on Hearing Loss to share their top tips on how to minimise the impact of those whooshes, bangs, fizzes, screams and howls – and what you can do to ensure your child’s ears are kept safe in every day life.
Watching fireworks, whether in your back garden or at a local display, is a great night that the whole family can enjoy. Bonfire Night is a time of year parents need to be particularly conscious of safety, and while we all know to be careful around sparklers and open flames, it’s also important to remember that overexposure to excessive loud noises could be damaging to children’s hearing
Fireworks displays can reach volumes of up to 155 decibels (dB); with 85 dB being the level at which hearing can become damaged; it’s prudent for parents to take some simple precautions to ensure that the kids stay safe whilst still having fun. Gemma Twitchen, Senior Audiologist at national charity Action on Hearing Loss has shared some top tips for parents to protect their children’s hearing:
- Ear defenders block out dangerous dB levels but allow ambient noises such as your voice to filter through, perfect for a family outing on Bonfire Night whilst also being useful for other noisy events throughout the year, such as music festivals and air shows. These Peltor Ear Defenders are celebrity favourites designed for children up to age seven. They are available from the Action on Hearing Loss website.
- Keeping a safe distance from the fireworks being set off is not only recommended by experts to avoid accidents but can also prevent loud bursts of noise causing immediate damage to the inner hair cells.
- Your child might be tempted to have the volume loud when watching TV or listening to music especially if it’s their favourite programme or song. It can be tricky to know what’s too loud and if it could potentially cause any damage but the general rule of thumb is the louder the sound; the shorter time it can take to damage hearing. Taking simple steps like limiting the volume regularly and having time away from the TV will help protect your child’s hearing and put your mind at ease.
- If your child listens to music through headphones, make sure you invest in some which are good quality and noise-reducing. These cut out background noise so the volume doesn’t need to be as loud.
- Some toys, such as musical keyboards, produce loud sounds. Limiting time spent with these types of toys will not only save your sanity, but will also prevent any damage to the children’s hearing.
Finally, it’s important that parents lead by example and consider taking steps, such as wearing ear-plugs, to protect their own hearing.
If you are concerned about yours or your child’s hearing, it is best to speak to your GP.
Senior audiologist, Gemma Twitchen, Action on Hearing Loss