With the Fourth of July around the corner, many are looking forward to fireworks displays. Unfortunately, hearing loss is a real risk with those loud sounds. As we navigate changes due to COVID-19 backyard fireworks displays may replace larger community displays but the risk is still present to adults and children alike for noise induced hearing loss.
Noise from fireworks can be extreme and pose a risk to your hearing even for short periods of time. Safe listening levels are below 75-80 decibels and fireworks can reach up to 155 decibels, which is louder than a jet plane taking off. The louder the noise, the less time it takes to damage a person’s hearing. For fireworks that can be as less than 5 minutes depending on how far away you are.
To ensure you do not damage your hearing while enjoying fireworks this year, protect your hearing by wearing hearing protection. There are several ways to protect your hearing such as earplugs, earmuffs, custom ear buds and electronic noise canceling earphones. Regardless of which type you choose, you should carefully read the instructions for use and ensure they are correctly placed on or in your ears for maximum noise protection.
If you have been exposed to loud sounds without appropriate hearing protection, you may experience hearing loss and should get your hearing tested by an audiologist or hearing instrument specialist. Extreme exposure can lead to permanent tinnitus in one or both ears as well as hearing loss.
Signs of hearing loss may include:
- Ringing in one ear or both
- Muffled hearing after the fireworks
- Difficulty understanding people speaking to you
- Ear pain
Remember how to keep your hearing healthy this 4th of July by following these tips:
- Use hearing protection and check the noise reduction rating.
- Keep a safe distance. The farther you are from the sound the less harmful it is to your ears.