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Using tech gifts safely to prevent hearing loss

Here are some simple tips to help your kids use their tech gifts safely to prevent hearing loss from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Using tech gifts safely to prevent hearing loss

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Now that the presents have been opened, many children and teens are probably using their new smart phone or tablets. Parents or caregivers need to make sure that they aren't listening to music, watching television shows, and playing games on these devices using head phones or earbuds at dangerously high volumes —it can lead to noise-induced hearing loss.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) urges parents to help protect their kids with a few simple safe listening tips this holiday season:

  • Keep the volume down. A good guide is half volume.
  • Limit listening time. Everyone’s ears benefit from a break.
  • Model good listening habits. Practice what you preach—for your kids’ sake and your own.

“Mobile technology use is pervasive in today’s society and is becoming ingrained in children at younger and younger ages,” said Patricia A. Prelock, PhD, CCC-SLP, ASHA’s 2013 president in a written statement. “Parents have a tremendous opportunity to start children off right by establishing safe listening behaviors early. While we want everyone to enjoy their new tech gifts this holiday season, we also want them to enjoy the gift of hearing for many years to come.”

The ASHA notes that hearing loss in young people is on the rise. A 2010 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed 1 in 5 kids ages 12–19 is suffering from hearing loss, an increase of 31 percent since the late 1980s/early 1990s.

Hearing loss can affect academic achievement, vocational choice, and social functioning—such as feeling isolated or unhappy in school. Hearing is critical to a child’s development, and the earlier hearing loss occurs, the more serious is the effect on speech and language development, communication, and learning.

Do you know the signs of childhood hearing loss?

It is critical that, in addition to teaching preventative habits, parents learn the early signs of hearing loss so they can seek help if needed. The earlier hearing loss is identified and intervention begins, the better the outcome. Early warning signs include:

  • Lack of attention to sounds
  • Failure to follow simple directions
  • Delays in speech and language development
  • Difficulty achieving academically, especially in reading and math
  • Persistent ear discomfort after exposure to loud noise (regular and constant listening to electronics at high volumes)

More signs, treatment options, and other information are available via ASHA’s new public education campaign, Identify the Signs, at www.IdentifytheSigns.org.


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Anna Nguyen Healthy Kids blog Editor
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The Healthy Kids blog is your window into the latest news, research and advice around children's health. Learn more about our growing list of contributors here.

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Anna Nguyen Healthy Kids blog Editor
Stephen Aronoff, M.D., M.B.A. Temple University Hospital
Peter Bidey, D.O. Medical Director of Family Medicine at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Christopher C. Chang, M.D., Ph.D Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Jefferson Medical Colg
Mario Cruz, M.D. St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Drexel University College of Medicine
Katherine K. Dahlsgaard, Ph.D. Lead Psychologist - The Anxiety Behaviors Clinic, CHOP
Gary A. Emmett, M.D. Director of Hospital Pediatrics at TJU Hospital & Pediatrics Professor at Thomas Jefferson Univ.
Lauren Falini Bariatric exercise physiologist, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
Hazel Guinto-Ocampo, M.D. Nemours duPont Pediatrics/Bryn Mawr Hospital
Rima Himelstein, M.D. Crozer-Keystone Health System
Jessica Kendorski, PhD, NCSP, BCBA-D Associate Professor in School Psychology/Applied Behavior Analysis at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Anita Kulick President & CEO, Educating Communities for Parenting
Janet Rosenzweig, MS, PhD, MPA VP for Programs & Research for Prevent Child Abuse America
Beth Wallace Smith, R.D. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
W. Douglas Tynan, Ph.D. Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Jefferson Medical Colg
Flaura Koplin Winston, M.D., Ph.D Scientific Director of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention
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