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Fourth of July celebrations are right around the corner, and you’re looking forward to firing up the BBQ, enjoying the parade, and taking your family out to watch the fireworks in the evening. While this is one of the most exciting holidays of the year, don’t forget it’s also one of the loudest and could be affecting you more than you think. Fireworks might dazzle your eyes, but they could be doing irreparable damage to your ears. Here are a few tips to protect your family’s hearing this 4th of July, so you can enjoy the rest of the summer without stressing about your hearing health.
How Loud Are 4th of July Fireworks?
A fireworks display is usually just a few minutes long, so you might be lulled into thinking your ears will be fine. While it’s true that hearing loss can be gradual, due to repeated exposure to loud noises, sounds as loud as fireworks can cause immediate and permanent hearing loss after just one blast.
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), exposure to sounds louder than 85 decibels (dB) can cause permanent damage to your hearing. For example, a chainsaw is around 100 dB, while walking past a jackhammer exposes your ears to sounds of 130 dB. Fireworks at close range are around 150 dB! A single firework blast can cause permanent damage to the cells of the inner ear, leading to ringing or buzzing in the ears, tinnitus, or hearing problems that will affect you the rest of your life.
Protecting your Family’s Hearing
We know you have a hundred things on your mind but protecting your family’s hearing this 4th of July should be at the top of your holiday to do list. Every year a number of people lose their hearing because of fireworks, so this year, make sure you take the right steps to protect your hearing.
- Move Further Away: The closer you are to the fireworks, the greater your chances of sudden and permanent hearing loss. One of the easiest ways to protect your hearing is to move further away from the source of the noise. Find a hill or roof top with a good view, and skip the noise and crowds close to the fireworks. Adults should be a minimum of 50 to 60 feet away from the fireworks, concert, or speaker system, and your kids should be at least 160 feet away. Babies under a year old shouldn’t be exposed to fireworks at all, since extremely loud sounds can cause a lot of damage to their little ears, and even damage their brain or affect development.
- Wear Earplugs: Before the festivities start, make sure to pick up a few pairs of foam earplugs at your local pharmacy. Pass them out to your family and friends before the firework show starts and shield your ears from the loud noises. They’ll allow you to hear conversation and enjoy the music without allowing dangerously loud sounds to reach your ears. If you have children under the age of 8, find a pair of earmuffs, since this will ensure a tight seal around their ears, and protect them from hearing loss.
- Know When to Walk Away: To avoid damage to your ears, and to protect your family’s hearing, you need to avoid sounds that are too close, too loud, or too long. If you feel any buzzing or ringing in your ears, it’s time to take a break, and get away from the sound. You can move inside, or even watch the fireworks from your car for a couple minutes, to give your ears a break and prevent damaging your hearing.
Treating Hearing Loss
Fireworks are exciting, and your whole family loves them. We want you to enjoy this 4th of July and protect your hearing at the same time. Follow these few steps and ensure that you and your family enjoy the festivities without damaging your hearing.
If you or your loved one has experienced hearing loss, visit us at HearCare in Rhode Island for a hearing assessment. We’ll test your hearing range, and work with you to find the treatment option that will match your lifestyle and hearing needs, and get your back to hearing in no time.