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Marching Band & Hearing Loss

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

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If your child is in the marching band at school or a band as part of an extra-curricular activity, parents should take a few simple steps to ensure all that loud noise doesn’t cause any hearing loss. The National Association for Music Education recently issued a statement noting that music education should be recognized as a cause of noise induced hearing loss, especially with children who are in band.

An estimated 2 million students in the United States play in middle school or high school marching bands and about 250-thousand play in college marching bands. “The problem is that they practice for hours at very high volumes intended to fill up stadiums and they’re often doing this in small rooms,” said pediatrician Dr. Sue Hubbard. “We are doing these high intensity noises that even in an OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) environment would not be allowed. For the young kids they’re going to have long-term permanent hearing loss that may not show up initially.”

Dr. Hubbard says a child’s hearing loss may be cumulative and it is important for parents to have their young musician’s hearing tested every year.

“One of the things they’ll complain about is the ringing in their ears after they practiced,” she said.

Dr. Hubbard also cautions parents to monitor the volume of their child’s mp3 players. She recommends that parents invest in a pair of earphones for their child instead of ear buds. Earphones, she said, take the sound away from the ear drum by putting it on the outside of the ear instead of down in the ear.

More Information: National Association for Music Education Position Statement

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