Parents and nannies have different methods of occupying an upset baby. Some talk to them, sing to them, or ask them to practice some new skill. (My personal favorite.) And others simply put earbuds (headphones) in their little ones ears, to keep them silent, occupied and…. possible deaf.
Years ago, I had to explain to a first time mother not to put q-tips in her infant’s ear. One year ago, I saw an infant, who couldn’t have been more than 3 weeks old at a blaring concert. And now, with the accessibility and abundance of smart phones, I see babies listening to music via the mini-speakers shoved in their ears daily.
Parents and nannies seem prepared for various safety issues via experience, books, doctor’s advice, etc., but ear safety has proved to be widely overlooked. The instances above have been replicated, especially the q-tip example, by literally all of my employers. It’s not that they don’t care, ear safety just isn’t thought about the same as real, possible cause-of-death scenarios, such as, drowning, falling or chocking.
If you look around any train, or on the street you will likely see adults and teens with earbuds in, listening so loudly to music you yourself, ten feet away, can make out the lyrics to _____ . This is our music and sound culture, i.e. loud is better, so of course parents and caregivers forget their child’s ear sensitivity, we disregard our own daily.
Why it’s important:
Ears are sensitive and incredibly important, not only for hearing and speech, but motor functions as well, like balance. For infants, toddlers and kids the ear is at a much higher risk of damage because it has just developed, like the rest of their bodies and minds. When we put too-small objects, such as q-tips into babies ears (and our own) we risk damaging the inner ear, which could cause hearing, speech, and motor function damage. The same goes for too-loud noises, such as music from speakers or headphones/earbuds. Setting the volume low does not necessarily insure that it will stay low, especially with our phone savvy babies.
Things not to do:
- Don’t put music/TV up too loud around babies.
- Don’t put earbuds in your baby’s ears or any headphones for that matter. The volume may adjust and become much too loud.
- Don’t let your baby put her/his fingers in their ears.
- Don’t put q-tips in your baby’s ear.
Cleaning your baby’s Ears:
If you want to clean your baby’s ear, simply use a washcloth or tissue, and lightly clean the outer part of the ear.