Are your kids listening to their music too loudly?

Are your kids listening to their music too loudly? »Play Video
In this Aug. 13, 2010 photo, Matthew Brady, 17, of Foxborough, Mass., poses for a portrait in his home while wearing ear phones.

PORTLAND, Ore. - You've likely tried to get your child's attention only to realize they're not hearing you. Instead, they have earbuds in their ears, and they're distracted by the music blaring through them. Many parents wonder if their kids are listening too loudly. Hearing experts say it's a good idea to talk about the issue with youngsters.

"Ninety percent of twelve to nineteen-year-olds use personal music players with earbuds," said John Brigande, and associate professor of otolaryngology at Oregon Health & Science University.

Brigande is involved with the Dangerous Decibels campaign, an effort to educate the public about noise-induced hearing loss. He has two specific tips for parents on how to determine safe volume levels for children.

"We teach our kids how to eat healthy, we teach our kids how to exercise," he said. "Absolutely, hearing should be one of those things that's taught to our kids."

Brigande's first tip is called the "arm's length" principle. A parent should stand one arm's length away from their child and try to have a conversation with them while they're wearing earbuds and listening to music. If that child has to remove one or both earbuds to hear the conversation, the music is probably too loud. The second tip is known as the 80/90 principle.

"This rule of thumb states you can listen to that sound at 80% volume for 90 minutes during a 24-hour period," said Brigande. "That's cumulative time."

Anything louder or longer could lead to hearing loss.

"The parents need to be the gatekeepers for hearing health and teach their kids healthy behaviors," said Brigande.

Parents can arm themselves with a wealth of information at the Dangerous Decibels website.