The picture to your left is sure to inspire a variety of ‘aww’s’ and ‘choo chweet’s’ from you! But did you know that ear muffs, apart from boosting the already high levels of ‘cute’ which all babies come naturally endowed with, also protects their sensitive hearing.
During the first few years of the child’s life, their sense of hearing is quite sensitive and loud sounds can damage their delicate ear drums! According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, USA, more than 15 minutes of exposure to loud sounds of up to 100 decibels is unsafe; airplane’s going overhead, loud speakers at functions, shrill whistles of trains arriving at the station, live concerts and full stadiums are just some of the many places in India, where the decibel levels are found to be beyond permissible levels and can cause damage to a child's hearing.
A child’s ear canal is quite small as compared to that of an older child or an adult. This means that a child can perceive the same sound at 20 decibels louder than an adult! Ear muffs lower the sound considerably before it reaches the child’s ears i.e. they act as excellent barriers reducing the sound before it reaches the baby’s sensitive ear drums, which otherwise would lead to long term damage in their hearing. Brain Fligor, director of diagnostic audiology, Children’s Hospital Boston, is of the view that such safeguards are necessary for the ears of today’s children as decibel levels have considerably risen in the past few decades and hearing loss from exposure to loud noises is irreversible!
Audiologist advise the use of ear muffs for young children, as long term hearing loss is cumulative and is neither painful nor does it showcase any symptoms except for gradual loss in hearing. So, the next time you go shopping for your little one remember to look out for a pair of cute ear muffs too!
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