If like me you have worked with young children for many years, you may not realise the toll it is taking on your hearing. Working in different environments, with noise levels at the max can cause problems in years to come.
This is exactly what happened to me. Ok I haven’t worked with kids all my life, but the job I had before my change in profession was no where near as noisy as this one.
When I started a family and when my children were old enough to attend playgroup ( as it was called then ) I played a big part when it came to volunteering and was there quite a lot as a parent helper. The group was held in a huge church hall, so you can imagine how noisy it got and how the sound of childrens laughing, screaming and playing with noisy equipment would echo around the hall. But it didn’t bother me then, in fact I never really thought about it. After all it was normal and just the sounds of children enjoying themselves.
After the birth of my 3rd child, I was asked if I would like to make more of a permanent thing of it and not just be there as a volunteer, but as a paid worker. I thought that was an excellent idea and decided that I may as well as i’m always there away. So I began to work there every Wednesday mornings and sometimes other mornings if needed. By this time my two older girls were at school so that wasn’t a problem and as long as I was able to take my younger son along to playgroup with me it was fine. I fact it came to a point when he was there anyway, so childcare wasn’t an issue. Also around this time, some friends of mine set up another group and as it was nearer where I lived I was asked if I would like to work there also. I said yes, I would be happy too. Now this place was a huge sports hall and you probably know yourself how noisy it can get in one of theses places even when people are playing the quietest of sports.
So day one arrived and enter the children. Oh wow, no one could have ever prepared me for this amount of noise, it was just crazy. Did I enjoy it, you are probably wondering. Yes I did enjoy working with the kids, I always have done, but all I could think was that my ears must be super sensitive as I really did find the sound very hard to cope with. It got the point that every time I left the building I felt like I had just left a pop concert and my ears would ring for quite a while afterwards. I know it got to the point that I had to leave, working with the kids was fine, but the environment definitely not and it just got to the point that I was just not enjoying anymore.
I still had my job at my child’s other playgroup, the one I had always helped a, but even there the noise levels in the church hall were starting to bother me. In fact the ringing in my ears was becoming a constant pain in my life, as it just seemed to follow me around wherever I went. Sadly it just got to the point where I had to leave that job too as I realised that this hearing problem was just not going away, it was starting to get me down so really I needed to get some medical help. It was sad at the time because I really did enjoy working with the kids and I didn’t want to leave, but I did feel like I needed to give my ears a rest from the noise.
Check back later to hear the rest of this story.