Your child’s inner ears may be damaged if he or she is around extremely loud noises, or around loud noises for long periods of time. This is called noise-induced hearing loss.
One way of describing noise is by decibels.
Normal conversation is often about 60 decibels.
Regularly being around noise that is more than 85 decibels can cause hearing loss.
Level of safety
Type of noise
Permanent hearing loss may happen
Fireworks within 3 feet, guns, jet engine
Jet plane, siren, jackhammer
Music from smartphones or personal music players set at loudest level, chain saw, radio-controlled airplane
Gradual hearing loss may happen over time
Loud noises can damage the hair cells in the inner ear and the hearing nerve. This is called sensorineural hearing loss or nerve deafness. Sensorineural hearing loss also has many other causes.
Hearing loss from loud noises may happen right away or slowly over a period of years. It may be lifelong (permanent) or short-term (temporary).
Your child may be around loud noise anywhere. Examples of noises that can cause hearing loss include:
Loud appliances such as hair dryers, food processors, or blenders
Traffic or subway noise
Power tools or equipment such as leaf blowers and lawn mowers
Concerts, sporting events, or movie theaters
Snowmobiles, go-carts, or radio-controlled airplanes
Music from smartphones and personal listening devices, with the volume turned up too high
Having trouble hearing is the main symptom of noise-induced hearing loss. Your child may have the following:
Trouble hearing soft or faint sounds
Normal conversation may sound muffled or unclear
Ringing or buzzing in the ears (tinnitus)
Your child’s healthcare provider will ask questions about your child’s hearing. He or she will examine your child, paying close attention to the ears. Your child may be referred to a specialist for hearing testing.
Comprehensive hearing testing is often done by an audiologist or an ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT or otolaryngologist).
Once the hearing nerve is damaged, it is permanent. Treatment may include:
Hearing aids. They may be used to help your child hear better.
Cochlear implants. They are devices that work damaged parts of the inner ear. The implants are only advised for some children. For example, a child with little or no benefit from hearing aids after 6 months of use.
Hearing protection. To protect your child from further hearing loss, keep them away from loud noise. Your child should also use ear plugs or muffs when loud noise can't be prevented.
Permanent hearing loss is the most serious complication of noise-induced hearing loss. Regularly being around loud noise can also cause:
High blood pressure
Increased heart rate
Grouchiness and increased tiredness
Ringing or buzzing in the ears
You and your children should use earplugs or muffs when you know you will be around loud noise. Earplugs fit into the outer ear. Earmuffs fit over the entire outside of the ear. Both help prevent hearing loss. Other things to do include:
Protect your child from loud noise
Be aware of noises in your environment
Know which noises are too loud and can cause damage
Get your child's hearing checked if you think there may be hearing loss
Noise-induced hearing loss is permanent. To protect your child’s hearing from further damage and to help your child manage hearing loss:
Try to keep your child away from loud noises.
When your child is going to be around loud noises, have them use earplugs or muffs.
Talk with your child’s healthcare provider about which medicines may cause further hearing damage.
Talk with your child’s provider about activities such as scuba diving that may cause further damage.
Talk with your child’s provider about special therapy for speech, language, and hearing.
Call your child’s healthcare provider if your child has:
Hearing loss symptoms
Been around a very loud noise and has symptoms that don’t go away
Trouble in school
Your child’s inner ears may be damaged if he or she is around extremely loud noises, or around loud noises for long periods of time.
Noise-induced hearing loss happens slowly and is painless. Once the hearing nerve is destroyed, it is permanent.
A hearing test can be done by an audiologist or an ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT or otolaryngologist).
Permanent hearing loss is the most serious complication of noise-induced hearing loss.
Use earplugs or muffs to help prevent hearing loss.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
Know the reason for the visit and what you want to happen.
Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you for your child.
Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed and how it will help your child. Also know what the side effects are.
Ask if your child’s condition can be treated in other ways.
Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
Know what to expect if your child does not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
If your child has a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
Know how you can contact your child’s provider after office hours. This is important if your child becomes ill and you have questions or need advice.