Robby Young's Hearing Aid Center - Coachella Valley, CA

Family enjoying independence day celebration oblivious to the risk of hearing loss from fireworks.

The summer season is here, and your schedule is most likely already filled with lots of parties and activities. It’s almost Independence Day and nearly everyone you know will be outside celebrating. Parades, marching bands, and live music are usually part of the fun, and let’s not forget fireworks! When going out to have fun this summer, don’t miss out on the good times, just take a minute to consider how you might take care of your hearing.

Noise-induced hearing loss has an effect on around 6 percent of the U.S. adult population below the age of 70; that equals around 40 million people. The sad part is this kind of hearing damage is practically 100 percent avoidable. What’s needed is a little forethought and common sense. Give consideration to some reasons you need to take care of your ears as you enjoy yourself this season and how to do it.

Fireworks are the Summers Most Harmful Offenders.

There are many potential dangers of fireworks but hearing damage tops the list. Hearing damage is not mentioned much by experts, but it tops the list of dangers associated with fireworks.

Boys Town National Research Hospital states you’re at risk of hearing loss from fireworks regardless if you’re shooting them off yourself or watching them at a public show. Noise-related hearing loss can begin at 85 decibels with repeated exposure. 150 to 175 decibels is the typical range of fireworks. For short durations 140 decibels is the limit for adults and 120 decibels for children before hearing damage may happen. Both those numbers are lower than fireworks.

The positive spin? The further away you are away from the explosion, the lower your risk of hearing damage. Watching the fireworks show from nearby is definitely more damaging than watching them from your porch at home. If you are an adult it is recommended that you stand at least 30 yards away. Children should be 70 yards away to take care of their hearing and babies shouldn’t be there at all.

You Really Love Live Music

Who doesn’t? And summer celebrations bring out some of the best musicians in the world! The World Health Association states that a billion teens are at risk for hearing loss from music whether it is coming from ear-buds, a parade or a favorite band playing on stage.

Hearing loss is a constant factor when it comes to repeated exposure to loud music. Live shows are usually louder than 100 decibels which becomes dangerous after only 15 minutes. It’s safe to say; most people attend concerts for longer than that!

Then There are the People

The most underestimated danger for hearing damage is crowd noise. When the crowd is into the celebration everybody is talking and yelling loudly. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association claims that crowd noise at sports games ranges between 80 to 90 decibels. Unfortunately, it will most likely be louder and more consistent at a parade or celebration.

A Small Amount of Common Sense Goes a Long Way

How can you keep your ears protected? You might not realize that it’s actually common sense. Assess the hearing risk of the event beforehand:

  • Will there be loud music?
  • Large crowds?
  • Fireworks?

What precautions you take depends on how loud you think the celebration will be. While enjoying live music, crowds, or fireworks, you need to wear ear protection. Something simple like foam earplugs will allow you to hear what’s going on still, but at a safe level.

If there is a fireworks show, take the family back to a safe distance. You don’t have to be dangerously close to enjoy fireworks. A block or two away is the safest minimum distance. It can also be more enjoyable to be a little further back where the crowds are less.

The Sumer Season has Other Risks Besides Hearing Damage

Noise is only one of several concerns. Hot sun, not enough water, excessive drinking, and fatigue also can be a concern. If you have tinnitus or suffer from hearing loss these things will make them worse.

Remember to celebrate in moderation. Maybe consider starting a bit later if you plan on partying into the night. Always drink plenty of water and try to moderate your alcohol consumption. You also need to be able to go somewhere and get out of the heat for a while. Can you find some shade? Are you anywhere near a public building with air conditioning?

Celebrations come every year, but you only get one pair of ears. Enjoy the holiday but be sure to protect your ears also. If you are worried that you may have already suffered hearing damage it is important to make an appointment with a hearing care specialist.

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