Thursday, August 07, 2008

Learning Styles and Hearing Loss

I-pods are tiny miracles of modern technology. Teenagers, tweenagers and even younger children use them every day. Recent studies, however, have detected an alarming trend among Generation Y and generation Z: temporary or even permanent damage to their hearing.

If your children have a learning style preference for background noise while they concentrate, or if their learning style is auditory external, they may use their I-pods for longer periods of time than their peers.

Do you know your child’s learning style preferences?

Dr. Patti Huang, an otolaryngologist at The Austin Diagnostic Clinic has this to say about I-pods: “the earbuds preferred by today’s music listeners are even more likely to cause hearing loss than the older muff-type headphones. Since earbuds are placed directly into the ear, they can boost the sound signal by as much as six to nine decibels.”

As soon as they remove the earbuds, music listeners need to re-adjust their hearing to normal conversation levels or to the volume at which a classroom teacher speaks. Typically such an readjustment takes several minutes, provided no damage, temporary or permanent, has taken place.

During the re-adjustment phase, the child will typically not be able to hear very well and may miss your requests or new information. But the news is even worse in case of ear damage.

''When you have temporary damage for a few days such as muffled hearing, that can influence the child's ability to learn in the classroom,'' said Amanda Niskar, a nurse-epidemiologist at the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Particularly if the child’s learning style is auditory, which is an unfortunate irony.

The experts’ advice is simple: lower the volume. It’s not about the generation gap, it’s not about the traditional war between parents and children on the issue of noise: it’s about your children’s health and their learning success.

No comments: