American Academy of Pediatrics issues statement on noise and children

Photo credit: Naomi Shi

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

On Oct. 21, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the professional organization of our nation’s physicians who care for children, issued a policy statement titled “Preventing Excessive Noise Exposure in Infants, Children, and Adolescents.”

The AAP has long been concerned about children and sun exposure, having issued guidelines about the issue in 2011. But the organization has provided very little guidance to pediatricians and parents about noise exposure until now. As with the sun, preventing exposure is the key advice.

The policy states, “pediatricians can potentially lessen harm by increasing awareness of children’s specific vulnerabilities to noise. Safer listening is possible. Noise exposure is underrecognized as a serious health issue in the United States. Greater awareness of noise hazards is needed at a societal level.”

Lead author Sophie Balk was interviewed on Healio, a medical media company, about the policy in an article titled “How children could lose hearing due to loud noises.” The key takeaways from the article are that hearing loss from noise is permanent and cannot be restored with medical treatment, and that infants and children are exposed to excessive noise at concerts, sporting events, fireworks displays and other celebratory events.

We hope the AAP’s new policy statement will help parents, schools and those who organize activities for children protect kids from excessive noise exposure. Maybe it will even lead to efforts to reduce noise exposure for adults, too. A quieter world will be a better and healthier world for all.

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