Preventing Hearing Loss: Start Young

Healthy Aging
on February 10, 2011

If your kids aren’t protecting their ears, you can help. Here’s how:

Cap volume. Program iPods at 50 percent volume or less, says neurotologist Katrina Stidham. Aim for listening at no more than 85 decibels (dB). The test: Your child should be able to hear someone talking to him even if he has ear buds or earphones on.

Limit listening. At 85 dB — a little louder than a dial tone — or lower, you can listen safely for eight hours, Stidham says. But above that, limit listening to three hours.

Plug up. If your teen is headed to a loud concert, insist that he wear earplugs. “He can still hear the sound but be protected,” Stidham says. And if he’s working with power tools or a lawn mower, provide ear muffs. “They protect the entire ear,” Stidham says. “Ear plugs don’t stop sound from going in behind the ear through the bone.”

Found in: Healthy Aging