Get to know the loud noise for yourself
Hearing damage occurs when the cilia in the cochlea fall into the ear and are unable to recover. This can actually happen after being exposed to a loud volume once, but also if you have been listening at a loud volume for too long or often.
We’re talking about “too loud” if the sound exceeds 80 decibels, as van der Borden explains. How harmful such sound is depends on how many decibels it is, how often it is heard, and for how long.
Once you’ve wondered if something is too loud, you can assume that it often really is.
A noise of 80 decibels (city noise) can be heard “safely” for eight hours a day. 83 dB (a busy road) only four hours a day and 86 dB (schoolyard noise) two hours a day. 103 decibels (a concert or nightclub) can damage your hearing in less than five minutes.
“Unfortunately, this is not indicated anywhere in everyday life: Be careful, it is very difficult,” says van der Borden. “In most cases, you have to realize it for yourself. Once you’ve wondered if something is too difficult, you can assume that it often really is.” Also, whistling in the ear is a warning of possible hearing damage.
Always bring hearing protection with you
As an adult, it is not always easy to recognize very loud noises, let alone children. So it is important that you pay close attention to this as a parent.
“If you can hear it at arm’s length when your child is listening to music or watching a movie with the earbuds on, the sound will be above 80 decibels anyway,” says Van der Borden. “Unfortunately, many adults also have hearing damage, so they cannot warn their children in time.”
Even in cafes, you should really protect your kids from loud noises.
Saskia Kluet, program manager at the SafetyNL Injury Prevention Knowledge Center, advises parents to give their children headphones rather than earphones, so that sound does not enter the ear directly. It is preferable that headphones fit well so that ambient noise is muffled. “The better the ambient noise is filtered out, the less likely you are to turn up the volume,” she explains. Or opt for the noise-canceling earphones.
Plus, make sure you always have hearing protectors with you when you take your child to a concert, festival, or other event, Kluit assures parents. “Even in cafes you should protect your children from loud noises.”
Hearing check as usual is like going to the dentist
In addition, Kloet recommends an annual hearing test. It’s hard to tell if your child has already started hearing damage. “I know from experience that the children are rather deaf from East India anyway,” she says, laughing. An online hearing test can provide a good indication. “Checking your children’s hearing should be as common as taking them to the dentist.”
Of course, education is also an important part of preventing hearing damage. Herein lies a great responsibility for parents. Schools can also play an important media role in this.
Kloet: “It is very important for adults to realize what listening to music or games too loudly can do. Hearing damage can severely limit a child’s future.”