An open letter to youth sports leaders on hearing loss
Hearing loss is a serious problem. Exposure to sustained high-volume sound is damaging our hearing and quality of life. While adults may choose what volumes of sound they are exposed to, children do not get that choice.
My daughter was attending a cheerleading competition in Sacramento. The auditorium was filled with over a thousand children 5 to 18-years-old and their parents. That’s when I first noticed there is a serious problem.
My ears started hurting from the excessive and unnecessary volume of the public address system and DJ music. I pulled out a decibel measurement app and the sound was a constant 95-100 dB. I was so surprised I let the organizers know and I started wearing ear plugs and having my daughter wear them as well.
It is up to responsible adults to shield our children from hearing damage the same way we protect them from other avoidable hazards.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports approximately 28 million Americans have lost some or all of their hearing, including 17 in 1,000 children under age 18.
The studies on hearing health warn that 85 dB is the threshold for dangerous levels of noise.
When planning youth sports events, please take the hearing health of children seriously.
- Require sound technicians to limit their decibel level to 85 when children are present.
- Post signs alerting attendees to expect ear-damaging sound levels.
- Offer ear plugs for free or sale. Post signage and announce their availability.
Failure to alert attendees, control volume and provide ear protection should result in liability for organizers failing to address well-known and established risks.