Are you taking your family out to see the fireworks this 4th of July? Everyone loves a good fireworks display, but if you’re not careful, your ears may not be so excited as you are. This year, enjoy the fireworks without damaging your ears by protecting your family’s hearing.
How Loud Are Fireworks?
From fireworks to concerts to family traditions, your 4th of July celebrations might be some of the loudest things you do all year. Fireworks are extremely loud, and if you’re in close range they can reach up to 150 decibels (dB)! To put it in perspective, normal conversation is about 60 dB, a chainsaw is around 100 dB, and a jackhammer is 130 dB. Even a gunshot next to your ear is quieter than fireworks, usually reaching around 140 dB.
Hearing loss from exposure to noise can be a gradual process, if your daily work or leisure activities are too loud. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), sounds over 85 dB can cause permanent damage to your hearing. However, if you’re exposed to one extremely loud sound, like a fireworks show, hearing loss can be instantaneous. The louder the sound, the less amount of time it takes to cause permanent hearing loss. These loud sounds damage the delicate hair cells in your inner ear, affecting your ability to hear higher pitched sounds, follow conversations, or to be able to focus on speech sounds in areas with a lot of background noise.
Protect Your Hearing!
One evening of fun isn’t worth a lifetime of hearing or struggling with the consequences of hearing loss. Nearly 15% of Americans between the ages of 20-69 have hearing loss, many due to exposure to dangerously loud noises. “July 4th is a wonderful opportunity for revelry, but we must ensure that our hearing health does not fall prey to our desire to celebrate,” says Elizabeth McCrea, president of ASHA. “By taking a few easy, preventive measures, all people can commemorate the holiday and safeguard their hearing health.”
Wearing earplugs is one of the best ways to protect your family’s hearing this 4th of July. Earplugs inexpensive and small and can make a world of difference. Before the big day, pick up a few foam earplugs, and slip a few extra pairs into your bag. When the fireworks start, pass them around to your family and friends, and make sure everyone fits them in snuggly. If you have children under 8, find a few pairs of earmuffs to keep those little ears safe.
Sit Further Away
Sometimes the best views are a little further away. Look for a rooftop of hill further away from the noise. To protect your hearing, stay a minimum of 50 to 70 feet away from fireworks, firecrackers, or the speaker system. The closer you are to the noise, the more likely you and your family are to experience immediate and permanent hearing loss. Make sure you enjoy the show from a place far enough away from all sources of loud noise.
If you or any of your family experience a ringing, buzzing, or any other pain or discomfort in your ears, it’s time to move further away. Try to avoid noises that are too close, too loud, or too long, as these are the noises that will damage your hearing. You can even download a decibel reader app, which will tell you how loud is too loud, but a good rule of thumb is that if you have to yell to be heard by the person sitting next to you, it’s far too loud, and you’re both risking your hearing health.
Treating Hearing Loss
The 4th of July is a fun family holiday, but don’t forget to keep your hearing safe. Do you think that you or anyone in your family has experienced hearing loss? Visit us at Hearing Health for a complete hearing assessment for you or your loved ones and take control of your hearing health. We have a wide selection of hearing devices from the world’s top hearing aid manufacturers that are sure to please you or anyone in your family. We’ll help you find the perfect hearing solution for your lifestyle and hearing needs, and make sure you’re not missing any of the important moments in your life.