I have grown more or less accustomed to the sirens, the trucks, the construction… the things that pass you by countless times in a single afternoon in Manhattan. Walking around the city with a baby, however, I am more aware (read: scared) than ever of how loud it can all be. And then we took him with us to a movie, and I suddenly sympathized with those people that yell “turn it down” when the opening credits start blasting.
My cousin is an audiologist (audiology is the study of hearing), and Aron and I immediately bought ourselves concert earplugs after talking to her. But I wanted to learn more about ways we might protect Hudson’s hearing. I spotted a photo of her and her six-month-old son on Facebook, headed to the circus. He was sporting these hearing protection earmuffs for kids by Peltor. The tight-fitting mufflers were designed to protect infants while mom or dad is hunting or shooting(!), a parent-infant activity which seems crazy to me, but it’s our gain!
I also asked her how to tell when something or some place is too loud: “As a rule of thumb, if you are having to shout to hold a conversation the noise level is too loud.” She added, however, that both the decibel level and the duration of exposure are relevant. “This is why iPods can be concerning because in the good ole’ days you ran out of batteries with your walkman before hitting the maximum length of time for safe listening. Now it is so common to see kids using iPods for hours upon hours at loud levels.” (You can download software and set a volume limit). Here’s a link with more information about safe loudness levels.
[Thanks, Jill! Photo via Runa on Amazon]