Gillian Morris (Spokesman Snap)

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 10th January 2020)-Parents and guardians of young children-especially newborns and toddlers- are being cautioned by a hearing aid user not to turn a deaf ear to the issue of hearing loss health effects linked to exposing young children to loud music.

This week, Gillian Morris who is an advocate on this subject matter, visited this media house to share her observation as  a“concerned citizen” stemming from the street activities of the recently held Sugar Mas 48 (St.Kitts-Nevis National Carnival) which saw  trucks with large speaker boxes.

“This topic is very important because I happen to be permanently deaf due to loud music and ear infections from swimming pools since I was small but my parents didn’t know I was deaf. I wear hearing aids, and so if somebody is speaking very softly, I’ll have problems.  If St.Kitts does not make it a law for parents to protect their children’s ears from loud music, this generation of children and the next generation will be deaf. Children’s inner ears are very sensitive to loud music for a long period and when loud music is 85 decibels that would make a child deaf. The ear plugs here are only EC$8.95 or you can get ear muffs for EC$100.”

“I find that parents instead of buying the expensive toys and shoes for their children, they need to concentrate on the children’s ears and well-being to prevent them from going deaf because it’s not easy to be deaf,” she added.

As gathered, Morris was diagnosed as an adult.

She is of the view that there should be a law for parents and guardians to pay a fine when they are found “endangering the lives” of young children through loud music exposure.

Morris- whose nationality to the Federation derives from her mother’s birth country- grew up in Trinidad and currently lives in St.Kitts.

“I wasn’t too pleased with J’ouvert when I saw a young mother who took her baby who looks about three or four months to J’ouvert because that baby was tramautised to the loud music. I felt sorry for that baby. What she should have done was get somebody to look after her baby instead of taking the poor baby and let the baby get tramautised to the loud music; that wasn’t good. Even toddlers and other young children were exposed to the loud music,” she went on to say.

Morris frowns upon those who use cotton to protect children’s eardrums saying: “Using cotton is not good in protecting children’s ears. Something needs to be done about this [matter] very urgently.”

She highlighted that to her knowledge, at least “three other people besides me have spoken about the issue and it’s like some parents are turning a deaf ear and they should not be turning a deaf ear. This is very, very important.”     

Commenting on the experience of growing up deaf, she had this to say: “

“Growing up deaf, my parents didn’t know about it, it was very difficult and I had a hard time adjusting to my school work and everything like that. The teachers gave me a hard time; they couldn’t understand why I wasn’t learning. It was only when I got older…It’s a pity they [my parents] didn’t know about it because I could have done much better in school if they had known about it.”

Additionally, Morris also shared what it has been like approaching parents and guardians about the matter.

“When I’m telling the people ‘Use ear plugs’ they not taking me on. I also say to them ‘Do you know how serious it is that your children could be deaf’? You think they taking me on? They look at me like I’m going mad [crazy].”

This media house wishes to note that former Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patrick Martin has been quite vocal over the years advising parents on the topic.