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Busting 6 Hearing Protection Myths

Little girl in Mini Earmuffs

The importance of protecting children’s hearing in noisy situations with earmuffs is a recent phenomenon – so recent, that we’ve come across several myths and misconceptions about using earmuffs for children.

We’re going to debunk those myths, get rid of the fake news and tell you how it really is!

Bust that fake news!

Myth 1: “Earmuffs will deafen my child!”

Relax – the designers of Banz earmuffs know that if you needed to get your child’s attention urgently and they couldn’t hear you, it would be dangerous – and putting babies and children into a ‘cone of silence’ would be upsetting, especially to very young ones.

As total noise cancelling is impractical, Banz earmuffs reduce loud, damaging noise to a safe level – and let softer sounds, such as speech, be heard. After all, the Banz Carewear motto is: “Sensitive Care. Sensible Choice”!

Myth 2: “It’s OK to wear earmuffs over a beanie or hoodie”

We often see pictures of little ones wearing their snuggly woolly hats underneath their earmuffs. We know you mean well – kids have got to stay warm, right? – but we recommend adjusting your child’s earmuffs to fit correctly before putting them on over the ears, THEN putting their hat over the top.

Why? Because a hat underneath the earmuffs means the muffs can’t seal properly over the ears, leaving your child in danger of ‘sound leak’. As the earmuffs can’t do their job properly, the wearer is in danger of being exposed to much greater levels of loud sound. Parents are lulled into a false sense of security, thinking their child’s hearing is safe – but it’s not.

David Welch, head of the Audiology Department at the University of Auckland, says: ” Make sure babies are not wearing hats when you put the earmuffs on. If the cushion cannot seal on the side of the head, the sound can get through and it is amazing how much gets in. It is a real problem we encounter often in adults who work in cold environments and wear woollen hats to keep warm, then don earmuffs on top – the sound just cuts through wool as though it wasn’t there.”

Left: The wrong way to wear a hat with earmuffs – the fabric breaks the protective seal.
Right: Pop a hat over the earmuffs and you’re good to go!

Myth 3: “You don’t need special earmuffs for babies and kids, my work ones will do”

It’s sad but true – some people believe that adult earmuffs will fit children and still give proper sound protection. That’s like expecting a baby or child to wear Dad’s work boots and not fall over!

Children, and especially babies, have different needs from adults when it comes to hearing protection. The obvious one is size – as well as being incredibly heavy for little heads, adult earmuffs can’t seal properly around children’s ears – and the protection factor is gone.

Baby wearing too-large earmuffs
Cute? Not really. Too large to do their job and too heavy for baby’s neck!

Also, babies also have softer head than adults, with the fontanelles or ‘soft spots’ yet to close. Adult-size earmuffs put an adult-force grip over the head which can be dangerous, especially for children under two years.

Banz earmuffs, both the Mini size for under 2 years and the Protective size for 2-10+ years, are especially designed to fit correctly – and they will keep up with your child’s growth, as they are adjustable. Importantly, the headband on the Mini Muffs is specially made with a light tension, so the earmuffs won’t put the squeeze on soft baby heads!

Myth 4: “Any hearing protection will do for the kids – it’s all the same”

Since earmuffs were invented back in 1873 (for warmth, not for noise reduction), there have been riffs on the basic design – but only one, the classic ‘earcups connected by an over-the-head band’ has stood the test of time.

There are other takes on the concept of the headband, using different soft and stretchy materials. However, these easily slip forward onto a baby’s forehead and risk the loss of protection as the earcups move around. Also, due to the bad fit, they can be difficult to keep on your baby. The specially-designed headband on Banz earmuffs won’t slip – and there’s a lot more technology in a padded Banz headband to keep soft baby heads safe than there is in a piece of stretchy material!

A word on using earplugs for babies and small children: Experts recommend that nothing smaller than an elbow goes into a child’s ear canal, for good reason – trying to fish out an earplug, and especially ear putty, from a super-small baby ear canal is dangerous. Also, earplugs are a choking hazard for small children.

Little boy wearing Blue Mini Muffs
Design matters – the padded Banz headband is made to comfortably stay in place.

Myth 5: “The kids don’t wear their earmuffs that often, they don’t need cleaning”

It’s easy – and recommended for hygiene – to clean your Banz earmuffs after each wear. Simply wipe over the set with a cloth dampened by mild soap and water.

Myth 6: “My baby has grown out of his Mini Muffs, but he isn’t two yet, so I can’t put him in the bigger ‘muffs”

The age recommendation on Banz earmuffs is just that, a recommendation or guide. Every child is different and some will need to update their earmuffs to the larger Protective Earmuffs size a bit earlier than others. Once the earcups on the sliding adjustment of your child’s Mini Muffs are sitting at the bottom of the band, it’s time to consider upsizing for the near future – their age doesn’t matter.

Boy in Protective Earmuffs in Silver
Is it time to upsize your child’s Banz earmuffs?

Now you know what’s what when it comes to baby and children’s earmuffs you’ll use Banz Carewear earmuffs – supplied by the experts in children’s safety gear – with confidence!

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All aboard with Baby Bluetooth Earmuffs!

Soothe and entertain with Banz Safe 'n' Sound Earmuffs

Hands up if you’ve been in the car/bus/train/airplane and your little one just won’t settle?

Or does your baby find it hard to cope with the noise of your surroundings?

Banz can Help! Banz Safe ‘n’ Sound Bluetooth Mini Earmuffs for under 2 years double as hearing protectors and headphones, so you can play their favourite stories, music or white noise on the go (and the rest of the family doesn’t need to listen in… bliss!)!

 

The earmuffs’ Bluetooth connectivity makes it easy to play sounds via any device, as the earmuffs come properly equipped with a micro USB charging cable and full instructions, as well as a useful drawstring carry bag.

No worries about causing damage to your child’s ears, either – the Safe ‘n’ Sound Bluetooth Mini Earmuffs are volume-limited – that means the sound will never exceed a safe level of 75 decibels.

Bang for your Buck! These special earmuffs double as sound-protective earmuffs and can be used without Bluetooth to save your little one’s hearing in noisy situations! The Safe ‘n’ Sound Bluetooth Earmuffs have the same grunty Class 4 hearing protection grading as our regular Mini Muffs.

Available in Silver, Blue and Pink, you can find Banz Safe ‘n’ Sound Bluetooth Earmuffs here.

 

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“Noise is the New Smoking”

Preschool play

The effect of excessive noise on kids made the news recently.

A Newshub (TV3) report has featured a Wellington audiologist who is concerned about the impact of the amount of noise in our environment.

http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/health/2018/02/noise-levels-in-nz-dangerously-high.html

Lisa Seerup noted the amount of noise a child is exposed to in pre-school or school, as well as in often-visited places like cafes, swimming pools and shopping malls, is often too much and may cause damage.

Many children are sensitive to overly loud situations and simply can’t cope in such environments.

Also, around 50% of infant toys, such as ‘Tickle Me Elmo’ and ‘Lullaby Glow worm’, exceed safe noise levels. This statistic blew me away! Our kids’ hearing should be safe when playing with toys!

Ms Seerup recommends using a Sound Level Meter phone app for checking sound levels – and votes with her feet by leaving places that exceed safe levels.

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When your child can’t defend their own hearing by getting away from the noise, such as in a classroom situation or at a noisy event – Banz Mini Muffs for under 2s and Protective Earmuffs for 2-10+ years can do the job.

All Banz earmuffs cut sound to a safe level – but won’t put your child into a ‘cone of silence’ – they can still hear what’s going on.

This is what Ann-Marie has to say about using Banz earmuffs with her noise-sensitive daughter:

“The earmuffs work brilliantly in noisy environments and provide a quiet space for her to refocus herself.

“The classroom was filled with everyone chatting loudly, she couldn’t cope. I had a sobbing child rocking in my lap with her hands over her ears. I looked for a solution and ordered Banz earmuffs straight away.

“The first day she took them to school, it got noisy, she put them on and there was this amazing smile come over her face. Two minutes later she was ready to join in.

“They have been a life saver!”

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Preventing excessive noise around kids is not just a fad or P.C gone mad. Why risk your child’s hearing – once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.

Banz earmuffs are best in noisy situations!

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11 Times Your Child Needs Banz Earmuffs

Our modern world is noiser than ever before – and babies and children go to events with the family that could place their delicate hearing at risk.

Did you know? Damage to hearing accumulates and can’t be reversed – unlike a cut on the finger, damage to your child’s hearing won’t heal.

This damage is known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Even a single noise event can cause hearing loss if it’s too loud, such as a loud concert or fireworks.

The National Foundation for the Deaf in New Zealand says: “No matter how old or young you are, too much exposure to loud noise can permanently damage your hearing and cause NIHL… if you think it’s too loud, it probably is!”

Children have much more sensitive hearing than adults, as the bones of their skull are much thinner, and their hearing is ‘new’ and undamaged. What’s loud to you is super-loud – and often painful – to them.

The best way to prevent hearing loss in babies and children is to use high-quality earmuffs. Banz earmuffs have a Noise Reduction Rate of a grunty 31 decibels, giving a Class 4 rating – only one grade less than industrial-strength earmuffs – and meet all relevant international standards.

Fun fact: Wearing Banz earmuffs won’t deafen a child. They are noise-reducing earmuffs, not a cone of silence! This means they’re still able to hear what you say to them.

A note on using ear plugs for children: ear plugs are often too big for a child’s small ear canal. If they’re cut down, they still may not fit the canal properly and allow noise through. Also, those pretty-coloured ear plugs are a real choking hazard!

So, when should babies and kids be wearing hearing protection?

Flying: The noise of take-off may upset some young children, so hearing protection is recommended.

Also, an airplane cabin is a confined, noisy place! Other people, other children and in-flight announcements can be incredibly disturbing for little ones in this unfamiliar and strange situation.

Wearing Banz earmuffs allows them to retreat into a quieter world – often babies will simply fall asleep.

Come fly with me! Happy on the plane in Banz earmuffs

 

Fireworks: Backyard fireworks at Guy Fawkes are a Kiwi tradition – but is it worth risking your children’s hearing for a few pretty sparkles?

Although crackers and sky rockets have been banned for several years, the explosive sounds of fireworks have become louder in recent years – and it only takes one noise event to cause damage!

Organised displays are even louder – although the fireworks generally detonated further away from the ground – there’s more BANG for your buck! Earmuffs are a necessity.

Fireworks’ loud bangs mean your kids need hearing protection

 

Motorsport: Revving engines, squealing tyres and crashes are great family fun! But it’s simply too loud for young children’s hearing. You’ll see the race officials wearing hearing protection at motor racing events – it’s even more essential for kids.

 

Safe ‘n’ sound at monster trucks

 

Working with tools/ home renos: If you have the builders in – or are doing the job yourself – then you’ll be surrounded by noise while the job’s underway. The professionals wear hearing protection and everyone around them should too – especially kids!

This includes the times when they’re helping Mum or Dad in the workshop.

Great to see sight and sound protection in use
Great to see sight and sound protection in use

 

Loud events: Such as festivals, children’s concerts, airshows – if we take our kids where we can’t control sound levels, and we know the entertainment’s likely to be loud, it’s better to be safe and take hearing protection.

At seated concerts you can’t move away from the source of loud noise – and even The Wiggles and Paw Patrol may be too loud, especially if the setting is a large arena. Add in the roar of an excited crowd of children and the decibels soar. Parents have shared stories online of upset children with hands clamped over their ears, due to excess sound levels.

Don’t let noise spoil family occasions – use Banz earmuffs.

Don't let loud noise spoil the fun!
Don’t let loud noise spoil the fun!

 

Movies: We love to take the kids to the movies, but the soundtrack may be set at ear-damaging levels.

Moviegoers have measured sounds during films at volumes reaching 98 decibels. That’s almost as loud as a train passing or an airplane taking off. According to a cinema owner, 85 decibels is about the average volume of dialogue in movies. As New York’s Children’s Hearing Institute recommends children not be exposed to noises over 80 decibels (the level of city street traffic), that’s a problem.

A sound level of 85 decibels “is where you want to stay below,” says Kit Frank, a U.S audiologist. Beyond that, “you start to hit into the range where you could potentially cause damage” to adult hearing – let alone children.

But surely, movies aimed at kids are quieter? Not necessarily. Storks, an 2016 animated feature for kids, hit a peak of 99.3 decibels.

Another occasion for Banz earmuffs!

Mum and Dad take their little one to the movies – safely!

 

Childcare centres: Preschools can be very noisy places. So much so that, in New Zealand, the National Foundation for the Deaf has developed the Safe Sound Indicator – a traffic-light system – especially to raise awareness of the noise in preschools. The fix? use Banz earmuffs to ‘turn down the volume’ for little ones upset by noise overwhelm.

The obvious area at a pre-school where earmuffs should be worn is at the carpentry table – this is good modelling of a safety practice. We have already supplied many pre-schools with Banz earmuffs – why not suggest it to the management at your centre?

 

No chance of ‘noise overwhelm’ at this preschool!

 

On the farm: Loud machinery is the enemy of hearing. Adults undertaking farm duties generally know to wear hearing protection – but if their kids are around the chainsaws, tractors, trucks, weedeaters and the like, farmers need to protect their hearing as well. Some animals are really, really loud – did you know a pig squealing can be as loud as a snowmobile’s engine? Banz earmuffs are very popular in New Zealand’s rural communities!

 

‘Helping’ on the farm – with safe ears

 

Noise-sensitive children: Some children are more sensitive to loud noise and overstimulation than others. Wearing Banz earmuffs in triggering situations allows a child the chance to regroup by dulling down the external stimulation – many customers have described their child’s Banz earmuffs as “a life saver”. Children with autism and sensory processing disorder find Banz earmuffs particularly useful.

Noise-sensitive children really benefit from Banz earmuffs
Noise-sensitive children really benefit from Banz earmuffs

 

At home: It’s possible your child may find noises around the home, such as vacuum cleaners and blenders, too loud. Slip on a set of Banz earmuffs and they’re happy! Parents who practice their drumming – or any instrument – at home can now protect their child’s ears from harm and not just from bum notes!

Much happier around blender noise wearing Banz earmuffs!

 

Sports: And… the crowd goes wild! We all want to support the team, but the sheer volume of the roar of the crowd at a game can be overwhelming for little ones, scary and harmful to their hearing. Sound levels at major games have been measured at the same level as a jet engine taking off… over and over and over… Play safe and invest in Banz earmuffs for your kids.

Yes! My ears are comfy and my team’s winning!

 

So, when do your children wear their Banz earmuffs? Comment and tell us!