Hesperian Health Guides

Loud noises and injury can damage hearing

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HealthWiki > Helping Children Who Are Deaf > Chapter 15: Why children lose their hearing and what we can do > Loud noises and injury can damage hearing

Some children lose their hearing because of very loud sounds or because of injury to their ears.

Loud noises

Very loud noises — like bombs, gunfire, firecrackers, loud machinery, and loud music — can damage the inner ear and cause hearing loss. The amount of hearing loss depends on how loud the sound is, how long it lasts, and how often a child hears it. In countries affected by war, many children lose their hearing because of bombs, landmines, and gunfire. Noise damages the nerves in the inner ear. Explosions can damage the ear drum.

A man and his boy have their ears covered while the man hits a metal pot with a hammer.

Try to keep your child away from loud noises as much as possible. If you cannot, try to protect his ears. Use something thick to cover his ears, like a thick blanket wrapped around his head, or thick ear muffs. You also need to protect your own ears from noise!


A child can cause infection or poke a hole in the eardrum if she puts a sharp object (like a matchstick, feather, or pencil) in the ear. If the hole is very small, the ear drum usually heals and a child's hearing will return to normal. But if the ear drum is badly damaged, it may not heal, and the child's hearing may be lost or reduced in that ear.

A woman speaking as she takes a stick away from her small child.
No, Nina! Give me that!

Slapping or punching a child on the side of her head across her ear can burst her ear drum and cause deafness.

Head injuries with skull fractures can cause severe hearing loss. Bomb explosions and other very loud noises can burst the ear drums.

  • Teach children not to put things in their ears.
  • Never hit a child on the head, and work to reduce family violence.