This weekend I was squeezing in a run at my Mother-In-Law’s home over the Thanksgiving holiday and happened to pass a family in their front yard. The mother had her baby in a carrier facing outward raking leaves. As I was running by, the father started up the law mower and then moved the mower over to get the area next to the mom. I was torn, should I say something to the dad about using a law mower around his baby without putting ear protection on the kid? I knew I would seem like a busy-body….but at the same time I know many kids suffer from hearing loss (1.4 Million in the U.S.).
I had forgotten about this incident until today when I dropped my kids off at school. The woman in front of me had left her car stereo blaring as she took a little girl into school. The woman looked to be in her twenties, and the little girl she dropped off was easily in Kindergarten or 1st grade. The stereo was so loud I could hear the lyrics through her rolled up windows and closed doors. It made me wonder, who listens to the stereo that loud in a car with a kid? There is a website that talks about how loud is ‘too loud’ to help educate both children and their parents.
We had our kids’ hearing levels tested at the hospital when they were born, and we are still vigilant about hearing safety. My husband is constantly participating in safety training at work, and whenever possible we practice similar safety methods at home. This means when the kids are helping my husband and he is wearing safety gear, our kids wear similar gear. We’ve got safety glasses, ear plugs, aprons, etc. If he is mowing the grass and wearing ear protection in the front yard, the kids are not allowed in that yard because my husband cannot hear them and he worries that he might ‘miss something’ while wearing his ear plugs and muffs. Our next door neighbor has a little girl, and I’ve seen him taking her for rides with him on his riding mower. In his case, he put his protective earmuffs on his little girl to preserve her hearing.
As our kids have gotten older, they have asked for ear buds and head phones to go with their electronic equipment. My husband found special ones for kids that have restricted volume levels to help protect their ears. My hope is that car makers will create similar ones for use with the built-in DVD players that are now in so many SUVs and Mini Vans. But until that day comes, we ask our kids to keep the volume levels down so that they only have the headphones as loud as needed to hear the dialog on the DVDs and we check them before the kids put them on whenever possible.
Are there some tips and tricks you can share about how you protect your kids hearing? If so, I would love to hear them!