YES THEY DO!!
I wish I could say, “Nah, they’ll be fine – it’s all just a marketing ploy to make us poor parents spend more money!” but sadly I don’t believe that’s true.
Noise-induced Hearing Loss is clearly the major concern here. But apart from the permanent damage loud environments can do to hearing, I have also noticed that being around loud music and lots of background noise for prolonged periods makes my children quite irritable! However, when they wear their ear defenders they find watching bands at festivals really enjoyable because it reduces the sound to a comfortable level for them.
My eldest had a lot of problems with her hearing (mainly due to glue ear, not being at festivals) so I have learned a lot about how ears work and how children’s ears in particular develop and I have to say, I think protecting them from the raised noise levels that are inevitable at a festival is really important. And the earlier you start the easier it will be.
The more kids at festivals who are wearing Ear Defenders the better because children won’t feel like they stick out, and they will want to wear them too so they can be like everyone else! Make it a habit that as soon as the music starts up at the main stage, the ear defenders go on. Keep them accessible – hang them on the wagon or buggy, or hang them in their bag off your rucksack.
Ear Defenders are also useful for attaching EL Wire to at night so you can see them (glue the wire on in funky swirls and pop the battery pack in a coat pocket – looks awesome!) 😉
If you want to read up on all the research surrounding child’s hearing and noise levels then do have a browse of the information in the RNID’s Don’t Lose The Music full report.
Where to buy:
For the best prices buy them from Amazon.co.uk
But what about older children (or even us adults)?
OK… so it may be relatively easy to get younger children to wear ear defenders… Not so once they become socially aware and ‘looking cool’ is the most important thing in the world. At this age they may be old enough to move on to more grown-up and fashionable ear protection such as musician’s ear plugs. There’s some great advice on hearing protection options for tweens from the NIDCD/NIH* including things they can say to friends if they ask why they are wearing protection. See the article here.
FACT: Noise-Induced Hearing Loss can affect anyone – so set a good example for your family and protect yourself too!
A good range of musician’s earplugs can be found on Amazon, if you want to get better quality non disposable ones.
From around 10 and above these ones are great as they fit in small ears. My children particularly like wearing these at night at loud festivals.
* National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
* National Institutes of Health (NIH)