Children and Headphones

Children in the Tucson, Arizona area and around the country are at a growing risk of developing hearing loss. In fact, the number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled within the past 30 years. This may be caused by the increase in use of personal music players.


The danger of personal music players is noise-induced hearing loss. This type of permanent hearing loss is caused by exposure to loud noises. Sounds are measured in decibels. Listening to anything over 85 dB (equivalent to the noise of heavy city traffic) can cause damage after eight hours. Exposure to sounds over 100 db (equivalent to the sound of a motorcycle) can cause damage within 15 minutes and exposure to sounds over 120 dB (equivalent to the sound of a jackhammer) can cause damage immediately.


A 2010 research study found that an iPod set to its maximum volume paired with standard earbuds produces an average sound level of 96 dB. This is higher than what is allowed in a workplace. Additional studies have been completed that show about 25 percent of those who use personal music players are exposed to daily noise that is high enough to cause damage. Another study found that 90 percent of all adolescents listen to music using earbuds; almost half used a high-volume setting and only seven percent used a noise limiter.


While your Tucson audiologist would recommend turning the volume down we know this is easier said than done. Audiologists recommend implementing the 60/60 rule. This rule states that you should listen to music at 60 percent of the volume for 60 minutes a day. Researches have determined that this volume for this length of time will not cause any harm to one’s hearing.


If simply telling your child that they have to follow this 60/60 rule does not work, your Tucson audiologist has come up with a list of suggestions.


  • Replace in-ear bud-style headphones with over-the-ear models
  • Perform a sound test. If you can hear your child’s music from a few feet away it is too loud.
  • Set a sound limit. Many music players allow parents to set a listening limit which is protected by a password.
  • Purchase kid-safe headphones. There are many on the market that have a lower-than-normal maximum volume level.


If you need any additional help figuring out how to protect your child from noise-induced hearing loss, contact your local Tucson audiologist. They can provide you with more helpful tips and tricks to talk to your kids about the importance of proper ear care.

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Arizona Hearing Specialists
Arizona Hearing Specialists