Fireworks Safety: Tips to Protect Your Hearing

Fireworks Safety - Tips to Protect Your HearingThe Fourth of July is right around the corner and for many that means concerts, backyard barbecues, pool parties, vacations  – and of course fireworks. While fireworks are a fun-filled finale to any Independence Day celebration, the dazzling display in the sky can have a damaging effect on your hearing.

The potential for hearing damage is determined not only by the loudness level (in decibels) of sound, but also by the length of time someone is exposed to noise: 90 decibels can be tolerated for eight hours; 95 decibels for four hours; 100 decibels for just two hours.

According to the American Academy of Audiology, noise levels from fireworks can reach more than 140 decibels. Exposure to noise levels this high can be painful to the ears and very dangerous for both children and adults.

“Children are especially at risk. The earlier their exposure to excessively loud noises, the more likely they will develop a hearing problem,” said Dr. Lindsay Bondurant, director of the Pennsylvania Ear Institute (PEI).

Fortunately, there are steps you can take for the whole family to prevent long-term damage:
 
  • Keep your distance: It’s important to maintain a safe distance from the source of the fireworks. You can also leave early if the noise becomes too much to handle.
  • Wear ear plugs: Wearing ear plugs or ear molds is one of the easiest ways to protect your ears when exposed to any noisy environment. Make sure they are inserted properly into your ears to ensure effective protection.
  • Be careful with children: Although fireworks can make for great family fun, earmuff-style hearing protection is recommended for infants and toddlers as ear plugs can be a choking hazard for young children.
  • Know the warning signs: Noise-induced hearing loss doesn’t always happen right away but often develops over time. Early signs of potential damage include: hearing a ringing or buzzing sound in your ears, trouble hearing people at a close distance and temporary hearing loss.
If you suspect you or a loved one may have some degree of hearing damage, PEI offers comprehensive hearing evaluations and individualized treatment plan options.

PEI can also help you #gEARUpforSummer and protect your ears all season long with custom hearing protection including swim plugs, sleeping plugs and ear plugs. For more information on PEI’s services or to make an appointment, call 215.780.3180.