The Fit For Work mobile occupational health clinic has been busy taking part in a pilot programme run by the National Foundation for the Deaf (NFD) to understand the growing increase in hearing loss in children in New Zealand.

Our team of specialist Occupational Health Nurses have been testing hearing in school children around the Auckland region to identify any instances of potential hearing loss. Early results have been concerning: 15 percent of the children tested so far have been referred for further assessment, double what was expected. A large proportion of the children said they listened to very loud music, mainly in headphones, which sometimes hurt their ears.

“We were certainly alarmed when we looked at the results that we got and they all talked about the buzzing and the ringing in the ears,” says Fit For Work occupational health nurse, Judy Walker.

“We associate tinnitus, which is ringing in the ears, with some sort of hearing damage that may be happening.”

There are concerns that this will be Generation Deaf.

Key messages for children and parents are:

– Ensure safe sound levels, if anyone else can hear the music in your headphones it’s too loud.

– Don’t use headphones for more than 90 minutes per day.

The warning is, once your hearing is gone, you can’t get it back, so keep the volume low and have regular breaks.

For the full Newshub story and interview, click here

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