Wireless Headphones and Hearing Issues of Kids


Whether wireless headphones or earbuds are safe for children or not depends on a combination of some factors such as listening duration, volume, and size of the ear canal. For example, listening to one song at a high volume is not likely to damage a kid’s hearing. But listening to music for a long time at high volume can be risky and damage hearing over time. Today wireless devices have dominated the tech industry. What that means is that even kids are being exposed to wireless earbuds and headphones. Here a question arises, is using wireless earbuds harmful for kids? Even kids that are strictly limited in their screen time have to use earbuds for testing and assignments. Therefore, safety concerns about these headphones for children surface.

These concerns were first raised by 247 scientists in 2015 when they expressed concerns over exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and possible health issues. The health risks mentioned by this group of scientists did include neurological disorders, cancer, memory and learning deficits, and reproductive issues. This appeal compelled the World Health Organization to impose strict guidelines on EMF exposure so that risks can be minimized.

How Listening Loud is Bad for Hearing?

Attending a concern is enough to tell you how loud noise can be harmful to your hearing. But what is the limit that you should not cross to avoid long-term damage? Unfortunately, this is a grey area. Experts are researching this for decades and they are unable to tell at which point the damage necessarily occurs. However, what we know for sure is that noise-induced hearing loss is a real problem for people in general and kids in particular. Having hearing loss does have a dramatic impact on their academic performance. And using wireless earbuds at maximum volume for a longer period of time can be a menace for children.

The best guess is that you can damage your hearing if you are listening to music at an average of 85 decibels for 8 hours a day. What is significant to note is that experts are not sure where the “grey zone” ends. Because noise-induced hearing damage cannot be reversed, caution is a definite way to go. That is why the WHO recommends 85 decibels at maximum. When it comes to screen time, it is important to limit the time your kids can use headphones for. The “60/60 rule” is an easy one to follow. That means limiting the use of earbuds for 60 minutes per day and at a volume not exceeding 60% of the max.

Wireless Earbuds and Health Issues in Kids

One of the concerns expressed by parents is the possibility of having negative effects on kids’ hearing when they use wireless earbuds. Both the Center for Disease Control and WHO have warned of hearing issues with prolonged exposure. As per their assessment, frequent and prolonged exposure to even moderate sound can negatively impact hearing. According to a report by the CDC, almost 12% of kids between 6 and 19 years of age suffer from permanent damage to hearing as a result of excessive exposure to loud noise. Especially those kids who listen to programs and music at the maximum volume are at particular risk of hearing loss.

Unfortunately, you cannot surgically or medically correct hearing loss once it is impaired. Therefore, parents must be vigilant about this and take strict steps to minimize the use of earbuds. If it is necessary to use them for assignments, make sure they do not listen at the maximum volume.

Knowing these risks, some of the best wireless earbuds for kids come with maximum volume limits to minimize the negative impacts on hearing. But parents should not wish away their responsibility of keeping an eye on kids even when they are using the best wireless headphones for kids. When tested, these earbuds exceeded their advertised limit which raises concerns about the claims made by brands. Moreover, these volume-limited safeguards can easily be removed or bypassed by older children as warned by experts. Because hearing damage can drastically impact kids’ academics and is impossible to recover, parents should be extra careful about their kids’ using wireless earbuds. They also encourage their toddlers to listen at lower volumes in order to protect their hearing.

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The WHO recommends that kids should listen to their favorite programs and music at volume levels not exceeding 85 decibels, and for up to one hour at a time. If a realistic reference is made, normal conversation happens at 60 decibels. Most researches conducted in recent times suggest kids can safely use the best wireless earbuds for kids. But it should be accompanied by sensible safety measures such as limiting the number of times kids can listen to music and the volume level they should not exceed. By applying these measures, parents can ensure the safe use of wireless earbuds for children. Because kids have small ear canals, you should always buy comfortable earbuds for your children.

What Parents Need to Do

As per the recommendations of the WHO and CDC, you should follow the below-given guidelines to abate the negative hearing issues attached to wireless earbuds:

  • Always use volume-limiting earbuds that are below recommended levels or playback
  • Make sure the volume limiters are working fine, and never use an amp
  • Never let your kids use earbuds at a volume exceeding 60%
  • Moreover, limit the time of their earphones to an hour or less per day

Concluding Remarks

No doubt, the use of wireless earbuds is common in kids as well. Excessive use can cause hearing loss that is unfortunately irreversible. However, you can void this loss by employing special care and attention. Hearing damage results from a combination of factors such as the time duration of use and the maximum volume at which kids listen to music. As per the recommendations of both the CDC and WHO, you should follow the “60/60 rule” to make sure kids are not exposed to EMF which can cause serious hearing issues. Moreover, as parents, you should also use volume-limiting earbuds for kids and limit their time duration and maximum volume. With these measures, you can ensure the safe use of wireless earbuds for your children.

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