Although schools have transitioned to e-learning, we have to make peace with the fact that nothing about it is like being taught in a classroom. Kids are now wired to their screens with earphones or headphones in order to pay attention in class and converse with one another on a daily basis. And as is with most things, this routine can have negative consequences if not done in moderation — hearing loss being a major concern, along with conditions like tinnitus, hyperacusis, dizziness, ear infection and excessive ear wax.
To ensure your child’s safety, Dr Dillon D’souza, ENT consultant and head and neck surgeon at Jaslok Hospital and Desa’s Hospital, suggests the following factors to keep in mind:
Sound check: D’souza says that a sound check prior to class is essential. “With e-learning, teachers just ask kids to join straight away. But a check needs to be conducted to ensure headphone levels are at 50 per cent. Parents need to monitor the volume; you shouldn’t be able to hear noise from the device when you’re near your child,” he says. Most PCs also come with sound cards that have an equaliser, so ensure that the volume doesn’t exceed 50 per cent there, too.
Headphones over ear buds: Buy noise cancelling sets. Any sound consists of white noise, which is blocked by wearing these. Over a period of time, white noise can cause ringing of the ears.
Choose safe products: Certain headphones can cause skin allergies. “Cheaper ones often don’t use FDA-approved material and will have bad foam that tends to peel off,” informs D’souza. In addition, he also mentions that the accessory needs to cover the ear completely, and the band shouldn’t be too tight.
Give it a rest: There’s a general 60/60 rule to be followed — listen at 60 per cent of your device’s maximum volume for 60 minutes, and then take a break.
Pick up on early signs: Headphones may be the problem when your child complains of pain in the ears. Even if they start talking louder than usual, it’s an indication that the volume is too high.
Dr Dillon D’souza
What the doc recommends
- Logitech H800 wireless headset
- Andrea Communications NC-181VM on-ear headset
- MPow 071 USB headset
- MPow USB eadset with noise cancelling mic
- Logitech Stereo H111 headset with mic
- Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000 headset (JUG-00013)
- Cyber Acoustics USB stereo headset
- Sennheiser MB Pro 1 UC ML wireless bluetooth headset
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