July 4th is right around the corner, and that means that there will be no shortage of fireworks! Everyone enjoys a good firework show, but it is important to stay safe while doing so. Noise-induced hearing loss is permanent, meaning that there is no going back once the damage has occurred. While most people know how loud noises can contribute to hearing loss, many don’t know that the vibrations from fireworks also have the potential to damage the tiny hair cells inside of the ear, which can also lead to tinnitus. As audiologists, we are all about protecting our hearing, and we wanted to share some useful tips so that everyone can stay safe while enjoying the firework shows.
- Wear hearing protection. Custom-molded earplugs (having your audiologist take a cast/mold of your ear canals) offer the best protection given the customized fit. There are also a variety of over-the-counter ear plugs available for purchase, which provide another great option for something more discreet. Ear muffs are another excellent choice for protection as they go over the entire ear. Wearing earplugs with earmuffs over top provides the maximum hearing protection.
- Watch from a distance. The further away you are, the less potential there is for damage. Distance reduces the sound intensity and the vibrations from the fireworks, so the more distance between you and the fireworks the better. If you cannot distance yourself, we suggest wearing both earplugs and earmuffs to minimize damage.
- Protect young children and babies from loud noises. Children, and especially babies, should be exposed to the noise as little as possible. Their ears are extremely sensitive, so it takes much less sound to cause permanent damage than it would for an adult. If a child cannot avoid being exposed to the sounds, we recommend wearing both earplugs and earmuffs to maximize protection.
Fireworks can generate decibel levels as loud as a jet engine or gunfire blast, so it is important to take the same precautions around fireworks as you would around these other harmful sounds. You don’t have to miss out on the firework show this 4th of July, but make sure to enjoy it safely by using our tips. Happy Independence Day from Treble Health!