September 27, 2021
By Nadja Streiter, LMSW, IGDC
If your kids game with headphones or a lot of their screen time includes audio, they may be at risk for hearing damage. “Noise-induced hearing loss is on the rise among young people. Some audiologists say they suspect the problem has only gotten worse during the pandemic, when kids have been glued to their devices for school, entertainment and social connection,” writes Julie Jargon in The Wall Street Journal.
Damage from noise exposure is cumulative. Gaming or listening to music for as little as half an hour with the volume above 85 decibels can cause scar tissue to begin to form in the ear. For most headphones that is a measly 80 percent of volume.
To avoid hearing problems, check your child’s listening level and incorporate these guidelines into their headphone habits:
- Never exceed more than 85 percent volume
- Alternate between headphone use and speaker use
- Change your system master volume
If your child is a gamer, changing the system’s master volume is especially helpful because if they try turning the volume up in a moment of frustration or excitement, it won’t be as loud as it would be without that adjustment, and in the heat of battle your gamer is far less likely to go into system settings and adjust it.
Of course, role modeling your own healthy use is always a good idea. The same guidelines outlined above apply to adults as well as kids.
To learn more about how to protect your child’s ears read the full WSJ article, How to Protect Kids’ Ears From Headphone-Related Hearing loss.
Nadja Streiter is a clinical social worker and therapist who specializes in Technology and Video Game Addiction.