Protect Your Hearing on the 4th
The sound produced by the blast of a firework or firecracker at close range can cause permanent hearing damage. However, a few simple precautions can allow people to enjoy the festivities of the 4th of July holiday while still protecting their hearing.
Two types of sound exposure can cause noise-induced hearing loss: prolonged noise exposure or a sudden, loud, single burst of sound like a bang from a firecracker. When exposed to loud sounds, the delicate hair cells lining the inner ear responsible for converting vibrations into sound can become damaged, resulting in hearing loss.
According to the Better Hearing Institute’s (BHI) recommendation, people should enjoy fireworks displays from a comfortable distance and protect their ears with earplugs or other hearing protection. Disposable foam or silicone earplugs are an inexpensive practical solution because they provide hearing protection while still allowing users to hear conversation. The BHI recommends placing the earplugs in securely at the beginning of the fireworks display and leaving them in place for the entire show. Children in particular are at high risk for noise-induced hearing damage so parents should take precautions to make sure that little ears are well protected while enjoying the fireworks.
“Noise exposure is one of the most common causes of irreversible hearing loss, but the good news is that it is preventable,” says Dr. Carol Hawkins, of Hawkins Hearing Center. “Exposure to noise over 85dB is unsafe and can cause damage. The sound produced by fireworks can be as loud as 140dB which is why hearing protection is so important when enjoying the display. Enjoy the show but be sure keep a safe distance and remember to pack hearing protection for the entire family.”