Fourth of July Hearing Safety Tips

How to Protect Your Hearing this Fourth of July

With Independence Day around the corner, people are gearing up to celebrate. The Fourth of July is full of backyard parties, barbeques, and of course, fireworks. For many, watching a breathtaking fireworks display is the cherry on top of a fun and exciting day. However, this often calls for a loud celebration. So loud, in fact, it can put your hearing at risk if you are not careful. Fireworks are loud, deafening even, as they produce a sound output that ranges from 150 to 175 decibels. According to the World Health Organization, children should not be exposed to more than 120 decibels, and 140 decibels for adults. So, if you are not careful, you can put yourself at risk for hearing loss. Luckily, following our Fourth of July hearing safety tips below can help educate you, so you are still able to enjoy yourself while taking the proper precautions.

Anytime you are watching fireworks, in public, or from your driveway, you put your ears at risk. While we are not suggesting that you forego watching this exciting display, taking the proper precautions is necessary. Following these helpful Fourth of July hearing safety tips can help lower the risk of damage and prevent noise-induced hearing loss.

• If you have an infant, it is crucial that you do not expose your baby to a fireworks display. Watching a fabulous display over the television is okay, but they should never be physically present. Due to the size of the infant’s ear canal, the sound is amplified for a baby. Meaning what’s loud for an adult, sounds louder to an infant, so keep them at home.
• When the television display is not enough, and you have the itch to view the show in person, make sure you keep a safe distance from the source of the sound. Meaning, don’t stand where the fireworks are being lit. Instead, stand back at least 500 feet. Even at 500 feet, you still have a great view of the fireworks, but without the levels of sound that can easily damage the tiny hair cells in your ear.
• If sitting far away from the source of action is not possible, make sure you don’t leave your ears exposed. To protect your sensitive ears, bring earmuffs or earplugs to wear. Foam earplugs are inexpensive and relatively easy to find, as they are typically available in hardware and drugstores. If you have small children, not infants, earmuffs may be the better option since earplugs don’t always properly fit a child.
• If you want to purchase your own fireworks, there are fireworks that still produce a spectacular display, but with much less noise. Noise level ratings are available when you buy fireworks, so opt for the varieties that are lower on the noise rating scale. These types of fireworks are less likely to disturb your neighbors and are safer for children. While they are not silent, they produce whistling and crackling noises, instead of a loud, explosive sound.
• When it comes to being exposed to loud noises, it is essential to listen to your body. Knowing when to take a break can help preserve your hearing, so know your limits. If you, or anyone you are with, begin to experience pain, ringing in the ears, or have any other form of discomfort, remove yourself from the source of the sound. Taking breaks, especially if your exposure is prolonged, can go a long way in keeping your ears protected from damaging sound levels.

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