Some activities may cause noise-induced hearing loss in children

Noise-induced hearing loss could be caused by excessive noise from concerts, sporting events, fireworks, loud toys or video games, and excessive volume via earbuds or headphones.

Some recreational activities can cause permanent damage to a child’s hearing. Noise-induced hearing loss could be caused by prolonged or sudden exposure to excessive noises, such as concerts, sporting events, fireworks, loud toys or video games, and excessive volume via earbuds or headphones.

Does my child have hearing loss?

According to Shelley R. Moats, Au.D., PASC, pediatric audiologist with Norton Children’s ENT & Audiology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, parents should contact an audiologist if a child shows any of the following signs of hearing loss:

  • Regularly asks people to repeat themselves
  • Complains of hearing ringing or buzzing in the ears (“tinnitus”)
  • Speaks loudly
  • Responds inappropriately to questions
  • Wants the TV volume at a higher level than other family members
  • Does not consistently respond when spoken to, especially in noisy environments
  • Complains of short-term hearing difficulty after being exposed to loud sounds

How to prevent childhood hearing loss

Hearing damage can happen from exposure to noise levels above 85 decibels (dB) for extended periods of time. For reference, 85 dB is equivalent to the sound of loud city traffic or a blender.

Norton Children’s ENT & Audiology

Our team of audiologists can evaluate a child for noise-induced hearing loss and other conditions, and can provide care and education for families.

Call (502) 629-KIDS.

Managing the volume in a child’s headphones is one of the easiest ways to prevent noise-induced hearing loss in children. Some devices may come with a “volume limiter” or can be managed through the settings on a smartphone.

“If you are next to someone using earbuds or headphones, and you can hear their music, then the volume is too high and should be turned down,” Dr. Moats said.

Noise-induced hearing loss can potentially interfere with a child’s physical and mental health, including speech and language development. However, this type of permanent hearing damage is preventable. Parents can provide ear protection, such as earplugs or noise-limiting headphones, to reduce noise exposure.

Dr. Moats is the recipient of the 2022 Marion Downs Pediatric Audiology Award, presented by the American Academy of Audiology, in recognition of her significant contributions to audiology as an educator, clinician, mentor, and advocate for children with hearing loss and their families.

According to the academy, “Dr. Moats’ clinical expertise and contributions have raised the bar for audiologists and positively impacted the lives of many fortunate children” for more than 25 years.


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Norton Children's ENT & Audiology – Novak Center

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