If you have ever spent time in preschools, you probably agree that there is a universal way to describe them. Loud. Large groups of children can be very noisy, especially during free time when they aren’t calmly listening to an instructor. Now, new research conducted by Sofie Fredriksson at Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden shows that this noisy work environment is taking its toll on teachers’ ears. In fact, more than 70% of the teachers in the survey experienced sound-induced auditory fatigue. While in many higher-decibel work environments employees are encouraged (or required) to wear hearing protection, teachers can’t wear noise-canceling headphones or earplugs to block out the noise. Despite that, they spend the majority of the day listening to high-pitched children speaking, singing, crying and playing at high decibels.
After a day working with noisy children, Dr. Fredriksson found that a significant number of teachers were so fatigued that they couldn’t listen to the radio after work.
While the Campaign for Better Hearing encourages everyone age sixty and over to have a hearing assessment*, if you work in a noisy environment, you may want to address your hearing health sooner. According to Dr. Fredriksson, preschool teachers are especially high-risk compared to others working in similarly noisy environments.