Should I let my Children use Headphones?

Should I let my Children use Headphones? Well, let's dig straight into it...

 kids wearing headphones

Around the time that children begin school and have left toddlerhood long behind them, many parents notice that instead of running around aimlessly and fearlessly, their child now increasingly prefers sitting down, listening to some music and relaxing. Their choice of music and genre preferences is something that forms with their personality and this new enjoyment is all part of growing up, much like how children will begin to enjoy playing or watching a particular sport over others.

Since even the early days of electronic music devices (but most notably after the release of the Sony Walkman in the 1990s), children and adults alike have been granted the luxury of listening to music in private, a welcome thought for those of us who enjoy peace and quiet. But whilst headphones at first glance may seem perfectly safe (and generally speaking, they are), parents must make an informed decision and not one based on the rationale that ‘everybody else is doing it’.

An overwhelming number of devices have built-in mp3 playing capability such as mobile phones, tablet computers, laptops etc and in an era where 3 year olds are fully proficient in using such devices, addressing the issue early is essential.

The Research

Research conducted in the US suggested that the use of headphones by children may contribute to hearing loss and this is backed up by an Australian study from around the same time. However, similar studies have also shown that the same is entirely true for adults. What we have to understand is how we can mitigate any risks and allow children to enjoy the privacy of headphones.

We don’t mitigate the risks of the roads by teaching people to simply not cross the road, we teach people how to do it safely and with care.

Headphones - Using them Safely

Phone with earphones

There are a number of factors that if taken into account can ensure your child is able to use headphones, but all rely on some degree of parental guidance. Children often can’t see how their actions today can cause issues for them much further down the line. - Instead of using ‘in-ear’ headphones, ‘over-the-ear’ designs should be considered as they allow excessive sound to ‘escape’. - The use of headphones should be subject to regular breaks.

Your child should try not to listen to music through headphones for more than an hour without a break - When your child is wearing headphones, if you’re able to hear the music from 3 feet away, it’s too loud - The volume shouldn’t be set higher than 60% of the maximum and lower than if at your discretion it’s uncomfortably loud - Many digital devices allow a maximum volume to be set and password locked which is a feature that should be used.

Points to Takeaway Advice to parents in summary is... - Children can use headphones, with a few considerations taken into account - Decision making must occur before the purchase to ensure the most appropriate design is chosen - The ability for children to access mp3-playing devices is increasing; it’s time to act now

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