Each day almost 140 million Americans experience noise levels that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) categorizes as "annoying and disruptive." In fact, the EPA reports that if you live in a city, you're among the 87 percent of Americans who are exposed to noises that have the potential to reduce your hearing capacity over time. The Better Hearing Institute estimates that more than 28 million Americans -- about 10 percent of the population -- have some type of hearing loss.
Children are especially vulnerable to noise-induced hearing loss -- which often happens gradually and without pain -- from overexposure to noise. Excessive sound exposure damages hearing by overstimulating the tiny microscopic sensory receptors within a child's inner ear. There are between 15,000 and 20,000 of these receptors in the cochlea (inner ear); when they're damaged, they can no longer transmit sound to the brain.
Hearing damage from excessive noise is permanent. Hearing aids can amplify the sound your child hears but as eyeglasses don't "fix" vision, hearing aids don't "fix" hearing.