Today’s guest post is written by Sarah Jones. who is the Editor of Headphone Selection. She loves all sound technology and firmly believes in the power of positive music.
How Sound Can Affect Young Children
Sound is fascinating to young children and it can have both positive and negative effects on them and their development. While it is important to incorporate sound in your young child’s life, you should be careful with volume levels to ensure you are not doing more harm than good.
Understanding the Ears
In a young child, their ears and their hearing are still developing. Their sense of hearing will be sensitive since it is not fully developed, but sound is imperative for children to properly develop. Understanding how sound can affect a young child can be better understood when you understand how the ears themselves work.
The cochlea, also known as the inner ear, will contain the cells that are sound sensitive. These cells will take the physical vibrations of sound and send them as messages to the brain so you can identify the cause of the sound.
The cells in the ear are in two types: Inner and outer hair cells. The inner hair cells, also known as cilia, will send the brain signals when they are tugged on by vibrations in the inner ear. These signals will help to pick up precise sounds and help the brain to differentiate between sounds.
The outer hair cells are not known to send direct messages to the brain. Instead, they will respond to vibrations that come into the ear by creating their own vibrations that are then passed onto the inner ear hair. Basically, they will act as an amplifier for the inner ear hair so they can send the brain the correct messages.
Pros and Cons of Sounds
Now that you are aware of what the ears do and how they do it, you can better understand how sound can affect your child. To give you a comparison, we have provided the pros and cons of how sound can affect your young child.
- Sound can provide interesting and engaging entertainment.
- Music can allow higher brain function and development in young children.
- Sound allows your child to identify things in their environment.
- Exposure to different sounds through speech, songs, music, or environmental sounds will help to increase the brain activity and make it easier to learn about these things.
- Sounds can bring emotion out in your child, from happy to sad, and this is great for them to develop a healthy state of emotion.
- Potential risk of permanent damage due to the loss of cilia caused by overexposure to loud noises or sounds. According to CHCHearing.org, 3 million children under the age of 18 suffer from hearing loss.
- Exposure to external noises such as traffic or construction can increase the risk of hearing damage, even if it is just a short time.
- Wearing headphones can directly affect the loss of hearing in small children.
- Young children do not have fully developed skulls so their sensitivity to sound is heightened. According to CYH.com, babies and young children have thinner skulls and their risk of hearing damage from sounds is greater than that of an adult.
As a parent, you want sounds to be positive influences in your child’s life and development. Make sure to keep an eye on the volumes and the amounts of exposure to sounds your child has and their hearing will be just fine.
Sounds can be beneficial to your child, while at the same time, sounds can cause damage to their hearing. Strike a balance by providing engaging sounds with toys and music, but don’t allow it to be too loud. What sounds does your child enjoy? Let me know by commenting below!
One Messy Mama