Protecting children from hearing loss: Drew Brees sets a good example

Consumer Reports News: February 08, 2010 02:35 PM

Kudos to New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees for his team's Super Bowl win, his MVP award, and his decision (no doubt abetted by his wife) to put noise-reducing headphones on his one-year-old son, Baylen. When the ecstatic father lifted the adorable child aloft yesterday after his team's big 31-17 win against the Indianapolis Colts, parents across the U.S. and elsewhere got a clear message: Protect your children's hearing in noisy environments.

As Consumer Reports' article Protect your ears from noise explains, prolonged exposure to loud noise, or even a one-time exposure to a really loud noise, can cause permanent hearing loss. Protecting young ears is especially crucial, since children have many years of noise exposure ahead of them, from too-loud children's toys to raucus middle-school cafeterias, to over-amped music events and cranked-up MP3 players. Parents shouldn't wait ‘til their kids show sensitivity themselves; they can take the lead by insisting on lower MP3 player volumes, and by getting kids used to wearing noise-reducing headphones or at least earplugs at concerts, sporting events, and other potentially deafening environments.

Coincidentally, a prominent spokesman for ear protection was center stage during the Super Bowl's half-time show. Pete Townshend of The Who has lived for years with tinnitus, a chronic ringing in the ears that he has attributed to loud music. Read this Rolling Stone article on Townshend, music, and hearing loss.

Consumer Reports offers extensive advice on preventing hearing loss, Ratings of noise-cancelling headphones, and evaluations of the features of 44 different hearing aids. Our comprehensive report, Hear well in a noisy world, includes a list of resources, both for people seeking to protect themselves and their families from too much noise, and for those already suffering from hearing loss.

—Tobie Stanger

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