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Last update on 2020-11-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
As we grow older our hearing is constantly being damaged, and this damage can never be repaired. Your toddler still has new hearing, and the chances are that it is still in excellent working order.
Whether they have perfect hearing or they have some hearing problems, they are going to have hearing that is more sensitive than yours, so it needs protecting. (When I was a child I had issues with my ears – in fact I still do)
You may need to protect your toddler’s ears from water, sound, pressure when flying, and of course from loud noises. This article goes on to explain when these things can be uncomfortable or dangerous to your child. Then give recommendations on what you should do to keep them happy and safe
When you are looking to buy ear protection to stop loud noises, the effectiveness of ear plugs and muffs is expressed in terms of NNR (The Noise Reduction Rating). The higher these values the better, and ear protectors typically have an NNR in the range of 5 to 30.
One point on the NNR scale reduces the sound that is heard by one decibel (dB). So if you are in a place where the background noise was around 85dB, and wearing muffs with an NNR of 20. Then the ears are exposed to noise of about 65dB.
Should you be wondering what does 85dB in volume actually sound like? Well below is an infographic that shows familiar sound that you will know on the decibel scale.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that in your place of work hearing protection should be worn if you are regularly exposed to sounds of 85dB or higher. This would be true for your toddler as well (There are free smartphone apps that can give you approximate readings should you still be unsure!)
The human body has evolved to live in our environment and can quite easily cope with most things in it. This includes water, and getting water in the ears. Our bodies are covered in skin, including in our ears. The skin acts as a barrier to foreign objects and does a great job doing this.
Most people, most of the time will not need to wear plugs when going in the water, as the skin and earwax will keep our ears safe. The shape of the ear is also designed to allow water to drain easily
(Yes, ear wax is not something to be got rid of as soon as it appears. We have evolved so that ear wax will move down the ear, actually cleaning it, removing dust, fungus, and bacteria as it goes. It is your ears natural cleaner)
There will be some occasions; however, when stopping water going into the ears is a good idea. For example:
Children have ear canals that are narrower than adults (they are smaller!), this means that the water will not drain as readily. So when in the water or swimming, they may need plugs at times.
You need to use your common sense here. If your child is perfectly healthy, has no history of ear infections, and is in clean bathwater, then there will be little need for plugs.
If they are swimming in a river, or had an ear infection last week, then there may be a need for plugs
When flying, a lot of people experience some mild discomfort or pain, when the plane is changing altitudes – when taking off and landing. This is perfectly natural and is caused by the eardrum stretching because the pressure on the outside of the ear adjusts faster than the pressure on the inside of the ear.
This can make toddlers and babies very uneasy as they do not understand what is happening as you will. They do not understand it is temporary. It is harder to get them to do things to relieve the pressure like yawning, swallowing and sucking.
The other thing that can bother toddlers, and indeed almost everyone on a flight, is the noise, from the engines and the general cabin noise generated when there are a lot of people in a small place. It can cause stress to babies and toddlers leading to irritability and crying
A good pair of flight earplugs for children could be a great help. When they are worn, and the child is used to them, they will reduce the noise considerable, and if you have plugs that were designed for flying they will help the pressure equalize on both sides of the ear at a more consistent rate. This means the discomfort or pain is reduced significantly.
An excellent tip for toddler earplugs is to get the kids wear the earplugs at home for a few days before the first time they fly. This will allow them to get used to the plugs, as the first few times you put them in, they will get pulled out again within a few minutes. If the child has worn them a few times before flying there is a good chance they will stay in for a few hours
As most of us know, cold weather can cause your ears to hurt. But once they warm up again, then they are fine, and there is no lasting damage. But this is not always the case. Sometimes the cold can cause ear problems, which could have been easily avoided by wearing a hooded top, or better still ear muffs.
Cold weather can cause a problem called Exostosis, more commonly known as “surfer’s ear.” (Surfers get this a lot as they spend a lot of time in cold water, hence the name.)
Exostosis is the body trying to provide a barrier to the cold. With this condition, the ear canal has abnormal bone growths. In the ear canal, bone grows on top of the bone that is already present. It thickens around the ear canal causing the opening to become narrower.
With a narrower canal, it becomes more difficult to hear, and wax builds up as it is harder for it to move through the ear canal. The wax and water can get trapped in the ear, and if this happens, bacteria will grow causing ear infections.
People with Exostosis are far more likely to get pain, tinnitus, and hearing problems. All of these difficulties can be avoided by wearing earmuffs or a hat on cold days
Hearing protection in noisy places can be really useful when you have toddlers for the following reasons
The ears of a toddler are more sensitive than yours as an adult. This means that they are more vulnerable to prolonged sounds and loud noises. At a young age, permanent hearing damage can occur quickly, and hearing damage is permanent
Research shows that one in eight babies and toddlers has suffered some mild degree of hearing damage. This is permanent and can be easily avoided. Keep children from noisy environments, and if this is not possible, use hearing protection.
I have a more detailed article on Infant Hearing Protection Here
When we are born, usually we have great hearing (This may not be true if you have a family history of hearing problems like me!). Your toddler’s hearing needs to be looked after until they are old enough to make their own decisions on this type of thing.
Children’s hearing is different from adults, and tends to be more sensitive, and ear infections are far more common. Ear protection does not have to be expensive, and can be a worthwhile investment in your child’s health. It is far better to use protection to prevent a problem than to have to suffer through it. Then pay for the treatment (which can be far more expensive!)
Ear infections can be excruciating for toddlers, and they can get them quite often. Below are five things that you can try to help relieve that pain
If your child is very young and has a painful earache, they will not be able to tell you. Below are some common signs of earache in a toddler
Yes! Loud music is bad for everyone, and kids can be stupid and play music or games much too loud.
When buying earphones for any kids, it is always a good idea to get buds that stop the volume being turned up to dangerously high levels. This type of plug will not go over approximately 82dB in volume. This level is safe for many hours at a time
Below are the recommended ear protectors for your toddler. A set has been chosen from each category of water, air pressure, temperature, and sound. These have been selected as the price that they are sold at is very reasonable, and also because they have a lot of positive independent reviews from other parents who have purchased and used the products.
Should you have any doubts, click the link and read some of these reviews. You will not be disappointed with the products recommended here!
Last update on 2020-11-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
If you require more information, please check these references
onlinelibrary.wiley.com , article, “Hearing Conservation Education Programs for Children”, retrieved on, Tue 05-November-2019
lshss.pubs.asha.org , article, “The Effectiveness of an Educational Hearing Conservation Program for Elementary School Children”, retrieved on, Tue 05-November-2019
www.tandfonline.com , article, “Randomized trial of four noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus prevention interventions for children”, retrieved on, Tue 05-November-2019
Hi, I am Nick, and I have suffered with ear problems my whole life, mainly tinnitus. I have tried a lot of products to help protect my ears over this period, and several devices to block out the constant ringing
“Are you having problems hearing? If so, those around you already know it. Hearing loss is no laughing matter, so don’t be a punchline.”
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