Happy Fourth of July! Independence day means lemonade, hotdogs, parades, swimming, and lots of noise. No Fourth of July celebration is complete without fireworks.
Fireworks have been a topic of controversy the past couple of years. When dealing with war veterans and pets, fireworks seem to connect the two parties due to the fact that they are too loud. Although most commonly heard twice a year, during the Fourth of July and New Year’s, fireworks can cause significant damage to hearing. ASHA states, “ approximately 15% of Americans ages 20-69 have hearing loss that may have been caused by exposure to noise” (asha.org).
How to get your ears ready for fireworks:
- Wear ear plugs. Even if the ear plugs “only” protect 5 decibels of hearing, they are still worth it. Hearing loss is measured on a -15 to 120 scale, so the higher number you are on the scale the more hearing loss you have. Due to it being a pretty small scale, any decibel amount of hearing conservation would be beneficial to you!
- Children and babies are vulnerable. Bringing a baby or young child may not be the best idea. In normal hearing individuals, naturally over time hearing will worsen. The decline of hearing will happen at a much more rapid pace, if children are exposed to loud noises, such as fireworks, a lot then they are in danger of hearing becoming poor. If you suspect your child has hearing loss, it would be a smart choice to invest in good hearing protection or find an alternate way or location to watch fireworks.
- Use an app. Nowadays, you can find out how loud the area you are in is by using an app.
- Cover your ears and move away. If you ever feel uncomfortable around firework, it would be a good idea to move to a quieter area (everydayhearing.com)
ASHA, the American Speech-Language Hearing Association that sounds over 85 decibels are damaging. On average, fireworks reach 150 to 175 decibels, which is way above safe hearing (healthyhearing.com). The day after you have seen fireworks in person, you will know if you have damaged your ears if you encounter muffled hearing, ringing in the ears, or pain (everydayhearing.com). If any of these symptoms last for more than 48 hours, then you need to consult a hearing care professional or audiologist. Take care of your hearing so you can enjoy your Fourth of July!