Are Headphones Hurting Your Child’s Ears?

Two parents decide to take their children on vacation over Labor Day Weekend. They allow their children to watch a movie on the tablet to ease the long flight. They put headphones on their children to not disturb the other people on the plane. Their children already know how to pause and play the movie, change the screen’s brightness, and adjust the volume. Does this situation sound familiar? 


What is a Decibel Level?

There is nothing wrong with putting headphones on your child and letting them watch cartoons or their favorite show. The debacle begins when they listen to volume at an unsafe decibel level for hours, potentially damaging their tiny, little ears. 

You might be wondering what a decibel level is. A decibel is a unit of measurement for sound intensity. Hence, the decibel level measures how loud or soft something is. The decibel scale is logarithmic, which means that each 10 dB increase represents a tenfold increase in sound power. The average conversation takes place between 60 and 65 dB. An alarm clock rings around 90 dB, while a rock concert can reach 120-130dB.


What Decibel Level is Safe for Children?

Parents need to know the decibel levels of various devices to ensure that their children are not exposed to sounds that may damage their hearing.  According to Orange County Physicians, a child’s inner ear is more sensitive to noise and thus more susceptible to noise-related hearing damage. A healthy human ear can hear sounds as low as 0 dB and as high as 120 dB; however, sound over 85-90 dB sustained over a long period can cause permanent hearing damage to the ears, especially for children.


How to Check Decibel Levels on Your Child’s Device

Your child adjusts their headphone volume, and the speaker bar goes up and down on their device accordingly. But how do they know the decibel volume? After all, the speaker bar doesn’t reveal that information. 


Every device provides different hearing data based on the settings. It’s vital to research the settings of your child’s device on how to check the decibel level. Depending on your child’s age, teach them how to check the decibel level, as well.


For Apple products, here is an article on how to add decibel-level data in the control settings. The article also explains how to check the decibel level over time in the Health app. 


For PC users, here is an article on noise meter software you can download to check the decibel level of your child’s device. 

Tips To Teach Your Child on Safe Listening

Promoting healthy electronic listening can set your children up for hearing health for life. Here are several tips you can teach them. 

-Teach them the appropriate decibel level and how to monitor it on their devices. 

-Educate them on noise-canceling headphones to reduce background noise. This will consequently allow them to listen to their headphones without wanting to turn up the volume to mute loud background noises. 

-Promote regular breaks from headphone use. Using headphones for over several hours at a time is unnatural to the human ear.