Safe listening is important for children

I am an audiologist in Calgary, and my daughter’s class was recently learning about the ear and hearing. I was invited by my children’s elementary school to present to them about hearing loss prevention and safe noise levels. Approximately 60 children from grade 1 and 2 participated in my presentation, which included the following:

  • Showing them what happens to our hair cells in our ears when we are exposed to loud noise for too long.
  • How to determine a safe listening level for earbuds for table or cell phone music listening
  • Measuring the level of sounds in their school.

I frequently present to the general public as well as to health professionals about the prevalence of hearing loss, signs and symptoms of hearing loss and treatment options, but I was more nervous than I’ve ever been to present to these children. They aren’t afraid to ask a LOT of questions at any point in the presentation. I enjoyed sharing information with them and they certainly took the safe listening message to heart, as many of them shared it with their parents. I made sure to let them know that noise protecting earmuffs (as opposed to earplugs that are too large for their small ears) are important if they attend concerts or monster truck and car races.

Thanks to staff at the nonprofit Hearing Foundation of Canada, who shared their resources and sound level meter with me so I could provide this informative presentation to the children  at Elbow Park School. The children’s favourite part about learning about the ear was when I used pipe cleaners to show how inner ear hair cells work and how they can be damaged with use. Apparently, the hearing and sound presentation was well-received, as I’m already booked for a follow-up visit to the older grades!

A couple of notes that adults can use from this presentation: When setting your listening level of earbuds or headphones, try to do so in a relatively quiet location, and ensure you are able to hear someone next to you talk to you.

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