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As a parent raising children and teenagers with hearing loss, you’re bound to encounter some challenges. Remember you’re not alone! We know people who have been there, along with industry experts, who would be happy to share their thoughts and advice. So if you’ve got a question, send us a message and we’ll be happy to help you out!

Loud Noise

Q. “My son wears hearing aids and I am trying to teach him about hearing conservation. What is the best thing for him to do when he is around loud sounds? Turn off his hearing aid? Does the earmould act as an ear plug or should he take the earmould out and insert an ear plug? I would appreciate any info you can give me on this topic. Thank you so much!”

What a great question! Often those who are deaf or hard of hearing believe that the hearing loss itself will keep them safe from further damage. However, the same cautionary principles should apply to all persons exposed to hazardous noise levels, regardless of hearing loss. Perhaps the only exception might be someone who has no measurable hearing and is not wearing a hearing aid or cochlear implant.

There are many degrees of hearing loss, ranging from mild to profound. Also, there are many configurations of hearing loss, such as those losses affecting only certain frequencies. Therefore, for those who are wearing hearing aids or cochlear implants, it is recommended that they remove the hearing aid/implant and use appropriate personal hearing protection for the situation at hand. The reason for this is that an auditory system that has damage, especially nerve damage, is more vulnerable than a normally functioning auditory system. It takes less exposure to cause greater damage for those ears with hearing loss as compared to those ears without hearing loss.

Earmoulds should not be used as earplugs to protect oneself from dangerous noise levels. Earmoulds for hearing aids are not designed to work in this fashion and will yield minimal help. Many earmoulds have a vent, so this lets in ambient noise, which could be the dangerously loud sounds. Properly fitted hearing protection plugs or molds are designed to fit deeper and have a very tight seal to block out the noise.

It is also important is to engage kids and teens to understand why it is important to protect the hearing ability they currently have. Further damage is permanent and can also bring unwanted tinnitus, or ringing in the ears.

In case you have not seen our "Hearing is Precious" portion of the Widex Connect website, make some time to check it out. It is aimed at kids and teens and has lots of information about the importance of hearing protection and examples of suitable personal hearing protection devices.