Hearing Health and Headphones

With common core standards came the need for more classroom headphones. And with that comes the need to make sure the students have the right volume settings. With the correct listening levels, students can avoid damage to their ears and preserve their hearing into the future. If they listen to audio at volumes that are too high, they could have hearing loss for the rest of their lives.

No teacher, librarian or parent wants children exposed to high decibels of audio while in the classroom.  The American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) recommends that children not listen to audio through headphones for more than an hour at a time. In addition, they suggest brief listening breaks during that hour. They have also stated that listeners would do better using headphones instead of earbuds; headphones are able to offer audio more indirectly. Noma Anderson, ASHA president, reports that as of 2008 close ten million Americans had a hearing loss that resulted from noise exposure. Even the World Health Organization is urging children to keep the volume of such devices down. According to ASHA, students should know that they are responsible for their hearing health for life and that they should start by using wise listening techniques now. The ASHA has now launched the Listen to Your Buds campaign. This initiative helps to provide students and parents with wise listening education strategies.

Better Hearing and Speech Month is in May of each year. It offers a time to focus on the importance of hearing. According to the ASHA website, the theme for 2015 is “Early Intervention Counts.” One goal of ASHA in this millennium is to promote safe listening practices.

volume control headphonesFor healthy hearing, ASHA has also indicated that one sign which indicates that the volume of headphones is too high is that others around the wearer can hear what they are listening to. This means a teacher or librarian can walk around their listening centers and determine who has their headphones too loud. Children should be taught that if their ears feel full, if they hear ringing or if the speech comes across as muffled; it’s because the volume is turned up too high. The benchmark that ASHA recommends is that listening levels should not exceed 85 decibels.

Sound level based headphones are one more tool in the educator’s toolkit to help them to adhere to common core standards and testing requirements without destroying anyone’s hearing. Hamilton headphones come in two fashionable yet sensible styles; one has sound-limiting capabilities and the other has built-in sound level notification. They teach the listener to stay within the safe hearing zone and preserve their hearing.