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Listen Up! Teen Hearing Loss Is on the Rise

What can you do to prevent hearing loss in your family? After all, many children get their first music player before their teen years, and even parents can be guilty of cranking up their iPods.

Here are some tips:

  • See if your child's music player has a volume control lock. Apple's iPod has a feature that allows parents to set the volume at a certain level, and kids can't change it without a code.
  • Make your child turn down the volume, especially if you can hear her music pumping out of her earbuds or headphones. If your child practically lives with her iPod on, play it safe and keep the volume at 60 percent or lower.
  • Avoid the temptation to pump up the volume to 100 percent while doing noisy activities like running on a treadmill, vacuuming, riding a bus or subway, or mowing the lawn.
  • Limit listening time. Experts at Children's Hospital Boston recommend these limits on listening time (when using standard iPod earphones): 5 minutes for 100 percent volume, 18 minutes for 90 percent volume, 1.2 hours for 80 percent volume, and 4.6 hours for 70 percent volume. Listening at 60 percent or lower volume is safe for up to 18 hours for most people.
  • Watch out for all different sources of continuous sound that can harm hearing. Besides amplified music, sources of continuous noise include motorized recreational vehicles, loud sporting events, power tools, and farming equipment.
If your child has prolonged hearing loss or ringing in his ears, talk with his pediatrician about a hearing screening and next steps. Keep your child's school informed of any hearing issues and related special needs.


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