Tip of the Week

Pause for a moment and picture someone who is hard of hearing. Did a teenager come to mind? Probably not. However, the results of a recent study paint a troubling picture of today’s hearing-impaired person - and it might just be the portrait of a teen.

Nearly half (46 percent) of teens reported ringing, roaring, buzzing or pain in their ears following dangerous listening behaviors, such as listening to loud music, according to a survey commissioned by Siemens Hearing Instruments, of 500 U.S. teenagers ages 13-19. Perhaps more startling was that one in six teens admitted having these symptoms (which can all be considered potential warning signs of hearing loss) often or all the time.

Common activities put teens’ hearing at risk

So what are teens doing that is so dangerous to their ears? The survey identified the following risky behaviors:

* Listening to loud music with earphones/earbuds
* Using a lawn mower or other loud power tools without ear protection
* Playing with gas-powered toys (model airplanes, cars, or boats)
* Playing with caps, cap guns, or fireworks
* Attending loud concerts
* Playing in a band
* Riding motorcycles, snowmobiles, go-karts, etc.
* Shooting firearms

Of these, more than eight out of 10 teenagers surveyed cited “listening to loud music” as something they did all the time. Nearly nine in 10 teens admitted engaging in at least one of the above activities regularly - with listening to very loud music with earphones or earbuds the main culprit.

“Over the past decade, the popularity of earbuds combined with loud music has rapidly become the biggest cause of teens developing early noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL),” says Dr. Donna Grant, audiologist at Siemens Hearing Instruments. “Although some manufacturers allow users to set a maximum volume on their devices, the reality is that portable music players are unregulated in the U.S., so teens are free to blast their eardrums all day long.”

What parents can do to protect their teens’ hearing

NIHL can be sudden, for example a loud explosion, but it usually occurs over time and is cumulative. To reduce the risk of developing early onset of NIHL, Grant recommends the following:

Set maximum volume limits on portable music players to 60-70 percent capacity and no more than 80 dB. If you’re not sure how to do it, ask a store representative where you purchased it or contact the manufacturer. Teens should limit their listening sessions to no more than one hour at a time, especially with earbuds. Also, talk with your teens about safe listening practices and the reality of hearing loss.


Teens should wear appropriate hearing protection for whatever high-risk hearing situation they come across. Students who play in a band either at school or home can benefit from Siemens custom hearing protection made specifically for musicians. More than just earplugs, they are custom-molded for a perfect fit and are equipped with technology that dampens the volume without distorting it.

Be proactive

Teens are influenced by their peers - encourage them to warn their friends if the music is too loud. As a rule, if they can hear their neighbor’s music over the earphones, it’s too loud. When going to a concert or other loud event, suggest they sit in the middle of the room to reduce the noise exposure. It’s also a good idea to visit a hearing care professional to get a baseline hearing evaluation.

— Brandpoint

Family Movie Night
“Into the Woods”
Rated: PG
Length: 124 minutes
Synopsis: Based on the popular stage musical. A witch tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree.
Violence/scary rating: 3
Sexual-content rating: 2
Profanity rating: 2
Drugs/alcohol rating: 1.5
Family Time rating: 3. A decent film for most of the family.
(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)

Book Report
“The Boundless,” by Kenneth Oppel
Ages: 3-7
Pages: 336
Synopsis: The Boundless, the greatest train ever built, is on its maiden voyage across the country, and first-class passenger Will Everett is about to embark on the adventure of his life! When Will ends up in possession of the key to a train car containing priceless treasures, he becomes the target of sinister figures from his past. In order to survive, Will must join a traveling circus, enlisting the aid of Mr. Dorian, the ringmaster and leader of the troupe, and Maren, a girl his age who is an expert escape artist. With villains fast on their heels, can Will and Maren reach Will’s father and save The Boundless before someone winds up dead? — Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Safety tip

Health officials are warning parents to keep their e-cigarettes and refill cartridges away from children at all times. A 1-year-old in New York recently died after drinking liquid nicotine.

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