MSHA Safety and Health Talks: Hearing Loss Among Children

Noise Causes Hearing Loss

You may have noticed you hear all right when people talk to you, but that all ends if there’s background noise of any kind – a fan, television, washing machine – the speech gets fuzzier and harder to understand. Well, you worked around noise at work in the mine or even at work with MSHA. It’s not a surprise that you have hearing loss.

But, what about your kids? Or, your grandchildren? According to the National Institutes of Health, 12.5% of children ages 6 to 19 (about 5.2 million children) have permanent damage to their ears’ hair cells caused by exposure to loud noises.

You work for an industry whose mission is to protect safety and health. If you’re a safety person, you’ve been trained in noise hazards and you should want to do something to reduce hearing loss among the people you care most about.

For the next few weeks we’re going to be talking about how noise can harm your children and what you can do about it. We’re also attaching a poster to this document and urge you to take it home and protect your family from unwanted noise.

Tips for a Quiet Home

Experts say there are 3 ways to create a quiet home:

1. Reduce noises at the source;

2. avoid competing noises in the same area; and

3. Make your family aware of noise sources, noise levels, and how to avoid unsafe noise levels.

Some practical tips:

· Set your television, video games, and music to the lowest volume they can still be heard.

§ Use only one sound or noise source at a time in a room.

§ Don’t turn up the sounds so you can hear the television or music from another room of the house.

· If someone in the room is hard of hearing, turn on the television captioning rather than turning up the volume.

· Create ways to muffle the noise of chores. For example, close the door between family members and any appliances being used, like a washing machine.

· Buy quiet toys. If you buy electronic toys, get those with volume controls. Use the lowest setting.

· If you’re buying a new appliance, ask about the noise rating.

· If you’re in a noise location, caulk the cracks around windows and doors. Insert putty or expanding

foam around pipes and wires where they enter the house.

· Close windows and doors against noise, such as lawnmowers or power tools.

· Use soft furnishings to soften noise indoors. The more cushions, curtains, and wall coverings you have, the more noise will be absorbed.

· Place carpets and area rugs over hard flooring to help soak up the sound. The thicker, the better.