Does your child like to turn up the volume on their earbuds or headphones when listening to their favorite music? Audiologists are seeing the impacts of personal technology devices misused by children and teenagers and rank it as their top tech-related concern. They urge parents to teach safe listening to prevent irreversible and lifelong hearing loss.

The month of May is Better Speech and Hearing Month, a time for hearing aid dispensers, audiologists, speech-language pathologists and other professionals to join efforts in bringing awareness to communication challenges. Hearing loss can affect speech and language development but seeking evaluation and treatment, if needed, early is essential.

The good news is this noise-induced hearing loss is preventable. Don’t rush to throw away these devices as safe habits can go a long way. Keeping the volume at half level and taking listening breaks are two ways to protect kid’s hearing. And as with most habits, the key for parents is to model the behavior they teach. Communication is the key to connection. For a list of speech and hearing licensed in the state, parents can access