Kids can be tricky. They often think they know better than us. Especially those tweens and teens. Like we were never their age. "You've got to let me make my own mistakes, Mum". They can't imagine even being 20, never mind as ancient as us.
So how on earth can we help them not to make the mistake of damaging their hearing or causing tinnitus?
Saturday 3rd March is the World Health Organisation's World Hearing Day. And this year it's focusing on the big anticipated increase in hearing loss. Here's a scary figure for you:
More than 1 billion people young people (12-35 years) are at risk of hearing loss due to loud sounds like music, gigs, loud sports events etc.
6 ways to help our kids avoid hearing loss and tinnitus
So how can we help our kids avoid damaging their hearing for life?
1. Teach safe listening.
Teach your kids the importance of turning the volume down and taking listening breaks, and keep repeating the message...
2. Model good listening habits.
It's absolutely essential you practise what you preach. Your kids won't take you seriously if you spend hours plugged into music, or listen to the TV at ear-bleeding volume levels
3. Choose the right headphones
Replace cheap headphones with noise-cancelling ones that mean your kids don't have to increase the volume to drown out outside noise. Or look for earbuds or headphones that fit well and don't leak sound - again so the volume can stay safe.
4. Use hearing protection
If you're taking your kids somewhere there's going to be a lot of noise like concerts, fireworks, sports events etc, take earplugs or ear defenders that can cut out the harmful noises. The British Tinnitus Association has a great range of hearing protection for kids and adults:
5. Keep away from the source of the noise
Choose where to stand - move away from speakers, starting pistols, fireworks etc. Wander out of the gig for a break from the noise in between the support and main acts.
If your child is complaining, covering their ears or seems uncomfortable then leave. It's a simple as that. Leaving halfway through a concert is much less costly to your children than a lifetime of hearing loss or tinnitus.
Let others tell them too
Sometimes your kids need to hear the same message from someone other than a parent for it to be effective. If your kids love music, show them the Plug Em website: http://www.plugem.co.uk/, where many musicians and DJs they look up to share their personal experience of tinnitus.
Has anyone else found any other approach to be useful? It would be great to hear them so we can help our kids keep the music.