Headphones, loud venues causing child hearing loss

Amanda Aguilar Image
Saturday, December 10, 2022
Headphones, loud venues causing child hearing loss
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Valley Children's Healthcare has seen an increase in pediatric hearing loss.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Valley Children's Healthcare has seen an increase in pediatric hearing loss.

New research shows more than one billion kids and teens are at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices.

According to a Valley audiologist, sound is measured in decibels. A whisper is 30 decibels, a normal conversation is 60 to 70 and watching a movie at a movie theater is around 85.

"It can get pretty loud," explained Dr. Dan Duran. "So about 85 decibels, you can't be around that for more than a couple of hours."

According to Dr. Duran, 100 decibels becomes unsafe. This is the level of noise heard at a concert, nightclub or school rally.

"After 14 minutes, permanent damage can happen," Dr. Duran said. "Once you get up to 110 decibels, damage can happen in only two minutes."

Valley Children's is seeing more teenagers come in with noise-induced hearing loss.

"They are using devices that are noisier, if they are involved in any sort of like sporting event, even school rallies, but especially cell phones and earbud use because it's increased," Dr. Duran said.

He added that you'll know when you're listening to something too loud because of the ringing in your ear, which is a sign some damage has already occurred.

Noise-induced damage isn't treatable. If it gets worse, a hearing device would be needed.

Dr. Duran said this can be avoided by keeping the volume low on a phone or TV, and not staying too long in noisy places.

Parents and teachers are going to be the first to notice a child struggling to hear.

"They're turning the volume up on things that maybe they hadn't in the past, like the TV or the tablet or the phone. If they're saying 'huh' or 'what' a lot," he said.

If parents have concerns, he recommends talking to a pediatrician and getting a referral to an audiologist.