The Fourth of July is just a week away and while this festive holiday is (literally) a blast to celebrate, fireworks carry a hidden danger. One in five American teenagers now suffer from some type of hearing loss, an increase of 31% since the mid-1990s, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. So, this July 4th, celebrate safely. Noise from exploding fireworks can top 155 decibels (dB)!
If you are sitting very close to the blasts, there is potential for permanent hearing loss. Limit your child’s chances of ending up on the wrong side of this statistic in three easy steps, as recommended by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association:
- Sit at least 500 feet from where the fireworks are launched. Fireworks noise for spectators 800 feet away ranges from 88 to 126 dB. But from 10 feet away, it’s 155 dB (louder than a military jet takeoff!)
- If you notice ringing or buzzing in your ears, move farther away.
- Bring earplugs for every family member. (For children under 7 or 8, consider using child-size earmuffs. Ear protection must fit properly in order to provide protection.)
For questions related to hearing health and protection, seek the help of a certified audiologist; find one in your area at http://www.asha.org/findpro/.
As someone who suffers from a noise inflicted hearing loss, I know first hand how frustrating it can be. So take a moment to prepare for safe celebrations!