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Protect Their Hearing: What Parents Can Do

Noise is everywhere, so it’s important to protect your child’s hearing and to teach your child how to protect his or her hearing. Here are some easy suggestions about what you can do in your home and community to prevent noise-induced hearing loss.

  • Be aware of the sources of potentially damaging sound. Click on the decibel meter for a list of common devices and their decibel levels. Noises at or above 85 decibels may damage hearing, depending on how loud a noise is and how long it lasts. See How Loud Is Too Loud? How Long Is Too Long? for more information.
  • Place hearing protectors, such as earplugs or earmuffs, where they are most likely to be needed. Suggested places are next to a lawnmower, tractor, or all-terrain vehicle and in a woodworking shop and garage.
  • Place red stickers on objects that can reach unsafe decibel levels. Remind family members that a sticker means that they should reduce the time they are around these objects or to use hearing protectors.
  • Tape a volume scale on your television or remote control to show where the sound level is safe and unsafe
  • Set the maximum volume on your child’s MP3 player to a safe level.
  • Involve school administrators, teachers, and your Parent-Teacher Association in reducing noise levels in the school and during after-school events. Suggest that the school:
    • Invest in a decibel meter to measure the noise levels of gym classes, the cafeteria, music class, and hallways during class changes.
    • Make students aware of how noisy these areas are and point out the potential risk to their hearing.
    • Distribute earplugs at school concerts, sporting events, and loud social events.
    • Distribute copies of NIDCD’s middle-school curriculum How Your Brain Understands What Your Ear Hears to seventh and eighth grade science and health teachers. (Copies can be ordered from
  • Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to raise community awareness about noise.
  • Use our drop-in article in your school and community newsletters to help get people involved in helping to reduce noise.