Children’s Headphones May Carry Risk of Hearing Loss


Children’s Headphones May Carry Risk of Hearing Loss


Children’s Headphones

We know that use of headphones is now in vogue, most appalling is that even our 3-year-old now wears headphones, most retail stores are now well stocked with all kinds of brands with frivolous claims of “100 percent safe listening and “safe for young ears”. That that devices limits the volume at which sound can be played; and our parents are relying on these devices to prevent children from blasting.

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A recent research by The Wirecutter, has discovered that 50% of 30 sets of children’s headphones that were tested did not restrict volume to the limit that was promised. More scaring is the fact that worst headphones produced sound that is so loud that it could be armful to ears only in minutes.

Cory Portnuff, who is a pediatric audiologist, University of Colorado Hospital, said that “These are terribly important findings,” But he was not involved in the analysis. He said also that “Manufacturers are making claims that aren’t accurate.” surprising!

 Dr. Blake Papsin, the chief otolaryngologist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Canada,Toronto. said that, this new analysis should be a wake-up call for all parents who previously thought volume-limiting technology offered adequate protection.

He said that “Headphone manufacturers aren’t interested in the health of your child’s ears,” he said. “They are interested in selling products, and some of them are not good for you.” which mean a lot.

Hearing Loss In Kids Because Of Headphones

A 2015 report  that involves more than 2,600 participants. it was discovered that 50% of 8- to 12-year-olds always listen to music daily, and almost two-thirds of teenagers do listen,  You know that safe listening to a music is a function of both duration and volume: Note that the louder a sound the music, the less time you should listen to it to avoid unpleasant effect on your ear.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in 1998 set 85 decibels for no more than eight hours as workplace safety limit for adults. But devices or headphones that are sold in the United States has no mandatory standard which restricts the maximum sound output for listening.

A 2011 study found that modern portable devices sound output levels ranges from 97 to 107 decibels.

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The Wirecutter test used two kinds of sound to test 30 sets of earbuds and an iPod Touch and headphones. A snippet was played first which was of Major Lazer’s hit “Cold Water” as a real example of the kind of thumping music which children listen to all the time.

Also, the testers played pink noise, which are usually used to test the output levels of most equipment, to determine whether the headphones actually limited volume to 85 decibels.

When they Played 21 seconds of “Cold Water” put it the maximum level, it was observed that 50% of the 30 headphones exceeded 85 decibels. More shocking was the fact that the loudest headphones went to as high as 114 decibels.

While the pink noise, around one-third exceeded 85 decibels; And the loudest was recorded at 108 decibels high. Check here for all the results are available at

Brent Butterworth, who is an audio expert that helped test all the headphones, said that “The battery lasts an impressive 18 to 22 hours, and the wired connection is used only as a backup. You have to plugged the cord in as labeled, and the other end to the headphones while the other to the music device. If inserted the wrong way, “it’ll play really loud,”. Also that “If they are using it in Bluetooth mode, it’s impossible to make too loud,” yes.

Children’s Headphones

Dr. Papsin however recommend the buying of headphones which both limit volume and cancel outside noise. He said that.“It’s worth the money.”

Our focus should be on their volume-limiting capacity. Ms. Dragan said  “Unless you’re on a plane or in a car, you don’t need to worry as much about isolation,” .

No Substitute for Supervision of Our Children Using Headphones

Supervision is very important and crucial for all our children, even with the headphones that effectively limits maximum sound,  Dr. Fligor said “Eighty-five decibels isn’t some magic threshold below which you’re perfectly safe and above which your ears bleed,”.

However, there are some tips offered by audiologists for listening to music: First, ensure to keep the volume at 60 percent. Second, we are to encourage our children to take breaks every hour in other to allow the hair cells in the inner ear to rest. Because nonstop listening can result to ear damage.

The director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, Dr. Jim Battey, offered this rule: If a parent is at a distance, a child that is wearing headphones should still be able to hear when asked a question from that distance.

Dr. Battey said that if they can’t hear you, “that level of noise is unsafe and potentially damaging,” .

A nationally representative study in 2010, suggested that hearing loss among the younger ones had increased to 19.5 percent in 2005-2006 from 14.9 percent in 1988-1994. While another study  in 2011,that using the same data but excluded more adolescents discover no statistically significant increases in hearing loss overall.Rather there was an increase in hearing loss among girls.

 Dr. Fligor explained that “Boys and men have always had worse hearing,”, mostly because they are more likely to engage in extremely loud activities. But the 2011 study in Pediatrics shows that girls were catching up with the trend.

Though we have an indisputable increase in hearing loss especially in adolescents, it is not at all clear that the main culprit is cranking Skrillex at full blast. Children are seriously exposed to other harmful noise: rock concerts,lawn mowers,sporting events, firearms and police sirens to mention just a few.

Hearing Loss And Better Communication With Headphones

Children’s Headphones and Hearing Loss

Dr. Portnuff said that “It may be premature to blame music players,. and he added that, “we know that a substantial segment of the population choose hearing levels that put them at risk for hearing loss.” We need a conductive hearing loss, which occurs when our ability to conduct sound from our external and middle ear into the inner ear is reduced or lost.

Dr. Papsin, who is a father of five, said that it was too late for us to put the horse back in the barn — for adults are going to let their wards to wear headphones for them to watch the in-flight movies and entertained themselves in different other ways. He said:

“I’m not going to get on a high horse as an old man and say, ‘Don’t do this.’ Every parent should have a three-hour flight to themselves.”

He however said that, “you have to know your free time isn’t costing your child lifelong hearing problems.”


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