Saturday, March 22, 2014

How To Protect Your Kids' Hearing, Ironically Enough, At School Events

I went to a fundraiser at a school the other night. The kids had fun and the PTA made oodles of money. Some people came home with prizes (it was Tricky Tray, after all). What I came home with was ringing in the ears.

Unless you want your child to wind up wearing a hearing aid, help protect their hearing.

At most school events I've been to where there's a DJ, the music is played louder than a jet on a runway, even if the venue is inside. I understand why it's loud - so attendees can hear it over the noise of the kids. I just have NO idea why it has to be dangerously loud! Unless there's dancing, music is merely background noise. And at a school event that's supposed to foster camaraderie, having very loud music does the opposite: it forces people to scream at one another, inhibiting conversation. Plus it can have serious health consequences: loud noise can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss as well as ringing in the ears (tinnitus). 

We give our kids headphones to protect their ears when they mow the lawn or use a leaf blower. We encourage them to keep the volume reasonable when they use earbuds on their MP3s or other devices. Yet children are exposed to noise that's just as loud when they go to large parties or, pathetically enough, at many school events. 


According to many websites including the National Institutes Of Health hearing loss caused by noise is completely avoidable. And once your hearing is damaged by noise, it CANNOT be repaired. So the best thing to do is protect your hearing now so the damage doesn't occur in the first place. And it's up to us, as adults, to help our kids do that. 

We need to speak up at events to protect our children's hearing!


It amazes me that whenever I attend these loud school events and ask the DJ to turn the music down, I am invariably told that they've been asked by the kids to turn the music up. So that's what the DJs do - listen to the children who don't realize the damage loud music can do to their bodies. It's time that school administrators and the PTA representatives, who are paying these companies, realize the harm that loud music does and work harder to protect our children by speaking up to monitor the volume at these events.

I heard plenty of parents the other night shouting to each other about how loud the music was, yet no one else approached the DJ to ask him to turn it down. Why? If enough of us had complained, he would have overruled the children and done so. If it was about to affect his paycheck, he'd have dialed the volume down. 

So what can you do, outside of keeping your kids home from these events?  

  • My kids are acutely aware of the dangers of too-loud noise and that's given them the confidence to move away from amplifiers at school events
  • Physically, giving them earplugs to wear is probably the easiest, most affordable, and least embarrassing solution for them. There are tons of earplugs on the market designed just for kids. If your child is small, obviously you'll want to insert them, and you'll want to make sure your kids are used to them before they wear them outside the house.
  • There are also ear muffs designed specifically for children. My kids use them when vacuuming or if my son is using the leaf blower outside. 
  • Lastly, if the schools won't protect our children from hearing damage, it's up to us. Speak up to get the DJs and those in charge of event sound systems to turn the music down! 


Thank you for reading!  

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