by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
This blog post from Stock Daily Dish posts a 2017 review of “the best headphones for kids that won’t hurt their ears.” This a big lie. Why not pair the headphones with the best cigarettes for kids that won’t give them lung cancer?
Because just as there really isn’t a Santa Claus, there are no cigarettes that won’t give kids lung cancer, and there are no headphones for children that won’t hurt their ears.
Headphones using the 85 decibel (dB) volume limit are not safe for children’s hearing. The 85 dB volume limit is derived from the NIOSH Recommended Exposure Level for occupational noise. That level doesn’t protect all exposed workers from hearing loss. And it’s not scientifically valid to extrapolate from studies of hearing loss in adult male workers to toddlers as young as three. As pediatricians often remind their internal medicine colleagues, a child is not a small adult.
A Dutch study showed auditory damage in children age 9-11 who used headphones. And at that age, they couldn’t have been using the headphones for very long!
Parents and grandparents should be talking with children, playing games with them, reading them books, telling them stories, not parking the kids in front of a video player with headphones so the children don’t bother them!
And if they buy headphones for their little darlings at this time of year, they should at least be aware that they may be condemning them to needing hearing aids later.
Dr. Daniel Fink is a leading noise activist based in the Los Angeles area. He is the founding chair of The Quiet Coalition, an organization of science, health, and legal professionals concerned about the impacts of noise on health, environment, learning, productivity, and quality of life in America. Dr Fink also is the interim chair of Quiet Communities’ Health Advisory Council, and he served on the board of the American Tinnitus Association from 2015-2018.