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Ask The Experts at Phase To!


Dear Experts at Phase To:  My kids wear their headphones in the car when we drive.  I suspect that they may be listening to their music at a level that may be dangerous.  What should I do? Jim from Wisconsin


Dear Jim,

Did you know that Walkman® type stereo headphones are often played at 100 to 110 decibels?  The personal stereo is a large part of the reason our young people exhibit so much hearing loss.  In the United States, people are losing their hearing nearly 20 years earlier than would have been expected in the normal aging process, and noise is most likely the cause.  About 10 million Americans have irreversible ear damage caused by noise.  Studies by the National Center for Health Statistics found that 15 percent of people ages 3 to 19 have signs of hearing loss.   Remember, noise induced hearing loss is 100% preventable.  Rules of thumb:  If you can hear music from your child’s headphones while standing 3 feet away, they are too loud.  If your child is wearing headphones and can’t hear your voice, they are too loud.


Ten ways to recognize hearing loss:

  • Do you have a problem hearing on the telephone?

  • Do you have trouble understanding women and children?

  • Do other people you talk to seem to mumble or not speak clearly?

  • Do others complain that you turn the TV volume up too high?

  • Do you strain to understand conversation?

  • Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy background?

  • Do you have trouble following conversations when two or more people talk at once?

  • Do you have to ask people to repeat themselves?

  • Do you misunderstand what others are saying and respond inappropriately?

  • Do people get annoyed because you misunderstand what they say?

If you answered "yes" to 3 or more of these questions, you may want to see an ear, noise and throat specialist or an audiologist for a hearing evaluation.

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