Barbecues, parades and fireworks are all of part of what makes summer special around here. That great American tradition, fireworks, can cause permanent hearing damage. We say damage, because that’s exactly what happens to the tiny cells in our inner ears when exposed to loud noises. We have a finite number of cells in our ears to facilitate our hearing, once damaged they can’t be restored, that loss of hearing becomes permanent.
Noise Induced Hearing Loss
The World Health Organization says that hearing loss from loud noise is reaching epidemic proportions in wealthier nations including the US. They recommend that adults avoid sounds louder than 140 decibels of maximum sound pressure. Fireworks and firecrackers can exceed 150 decibels. Proximity to the source of sound plays a role too. If you are right next to the blast, you are putting your hearing at risk. Twenty-five yards back is a safer distance to enjoy the spectacle. Prolonged exposure to sounds over 80 decibels can also lead to permanent hearing loss. Things like weed-whackers, motorcycles, convertibles and headphones can cause damage.
Both blast type and prolonged noise exposure cause what is called noise induced hearing loss. Noise exposure is now the leading cause of hearing loss in the US. Noise induced hearing loss is also the leading service disability of our veterans. Needless to say, our noisy world is causing permanent hearing loss.
Protect Your Hearing
We are not trying to take away all your summer fun, just provide some tips to help protect your hearing whether you are celebrating with fireworks or other summer fun.
- Stay back at least 100 feet from the blast
- Wear hearing protection during the show (we have custom options too)
- Protect young ears too, children should wear protection too, even infants (ask us about options)
- Turn down the music in your ear buds and headphones
- Use noise canceling headphones when traveling (loud music only makes the problem worse)
- Wear hearing protection when using power garden tools.
We hope you all have a safe and fun summer celebration. See us if you want to get custom hearing protection.