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5 Keys to Healthy Hearing by Dominique Walker, SLP

5 Keys to Healthy Hearing by Dominique Walker, SLP

1. Know what sounds can cause damage to your hearing

A very loud sound, such as a gunshot or jet engine at takeoff, heard even for a millisecond can damage your hearing permanently. Sounds louder than 85 decibels, like crowded sporting events, power tools, and motorcycles can cause permanent damage to your hearing if you are exposed to them regularly for a period of time.

2. Shop smart

The Minnesota-based Sight and Hearing Association creates an annual list of noisy toys. Some items on the shelves of the toy aisle can cause permanent hearing damage if played with for 30 minutes or longer. If you would like to receive a PDF copy of the complete 2016 Noisy Toys List or if you have a noisy toy to report, contact Kathy Webb at

3. Turn down the volume

When listening to music or videos through headphones, turn down the volume. Some headphones have built-in volume control. Search for headphones with a volume limiter if headphones are a common item at your home. Parental controls on your home PC and television, and volume-limiting apps for Apple and Android devices can also help you protect your child’s hearing.

4. Protect your hearing

If you know you will be exposed to a lot of noise, for instance, if you are going to a concert, consider wearing earplugs. These typically reduce the decibel level by 20-30dB. That means you will still hear the music, but you won’t put your hearing at risk of permanent damage.

5. Recognize the signs of hearing loss

Children with hearing loss may respond inappropriately to questions; rely on watching others rather than listening to directions to find out how to do something; or have difficulty understanding what others are saying. Adults with hearing loss may complain of ringing of the ears; difficulty understanding others, especially when background noise is present; and withdrawal from conversations. Talk to your doctor or pediatrician if you suspect hearing loss in yourself or your child.


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Melissa Masterino-Clack