How to protect precious little ears
When New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees brought his son out on the field to glory in his team's Super Bowl win, 1-year-old Baylen sported hearing-protective earmuffs. Divya Kumar spent much of a recent Disney on Ice show with her hands covering her 2-year-old's ears to protect her from the "disturbing" volume. Tom Kirvin always carries earplugs for his 8-year-old son because the sound in movies can be "outrageous. In some theaters, they're so loud it's kind of chest-rattling," the San Francisco dad says.
All those loud sounds are annoying, even painful sometimes and can bring children to tears. But they may not be dangerous.
"I can be very confident that it's not hurting their ears," says Brian Fligor, director of diagnostic audiology at Children's Hospital in Boston. For little Baylen, "more likely than not it was more of a comfort issue."
Still, parents shouldn't be complacent: Many sounds do damage children's hearing, and it's important to know the difference.
Hearing loss from loud or sustained noises is caused by destruction of the cilia, tiny hairlike projections that sprout from sound receptor cells in the ear. Loud or prolonged noise can shear off or break the cilia so there's nothing left to detect the sound.
Source: By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, March 29, 2011