Enjoy your Fourth of July celebrations without compromising your hearing health during the noisiest patriotic display of the year.
How Fireworks Can Affect Your Hearing
The bright displays in the sky are caused by chemical reactions that occur when burning gunpowder releases hot gas, which expands and explodes.
That explosion creates the boom you hear after a firework ignites. It also generates a blast wave that can permanently damage the delicate hair cells inside your inner ears that transmit audio signals to your brain.
4 Hearing Safety Tips for Independence Day
#1: Keep Your Distance
The closer you are to fireworks, the greater your risk of sustaining hearing damage. Fireworks can exceed 150 decibels, depending on your proximity to the explosion.
According to the World Health Organization, 140 decibels is the maximum sound level considered safe for adults. However, any sound louder than 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss. Stay approximately 500 feet away during a fireworks show. That’s about 1.5 football fields.
#2: Wear Hearing Protection
One of the best ways to keep your hearing safe during the Fourth of July is to wear hearing protection. You can purchase inexpensive, single-use foam earplugs from most drugstores. Over-ear headphones or earmuffs are another option if you prefer not to wear earplugs. Aside from fireworks, wear hearing protection during other Fourth of July celebrations, such as parades and concerts.
#3: Attend Professional Firework Shows
It’s best to leave the explosive displays to the professionals on the Fourth of July. Pyrotechnics require careful planning and timing, which most at-home fireworks displays lack. Professional shows are positioned at an appropriate distance and often include a designated viewing area for your physical and auditory safety.
#4: Buy Quieter Fireworks
All fireworks have a noise level rating. Be mindful of how loud yours are if you decide to do an at-home show for Independence Day. Consult staff to determine which type of fireworks are quieter. Generally, fountains, falling leaves, wheels and comets don’t create as much noise as firework cakes packed with large explosions.
Signs of Sudden Hearing Loss
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. You may experience symptoms after one night of watching fireworks. It’s important to know the signs so you can seek hearing treatment from an audiologist as soon as possible.
Symptoms of NIHL include:
- Muffled hearing
- Trouble hearing conversations, especially in noisy environments
- Tinnitus, a ringing, buzzing or humming only you can hear
- A sense of pressure or fullness in your ears
- Trouble hearing high-pitched sounds and voices
Visit Audio Help Hearing Centers for Comprehensive Hearing Healthcare
Schedule an appointment at Audio Help Hearing Centers in New York City and Scarsdale, New York, or Stamford Connecticut, if you suspect your hearing has been damaged by firework noise. We offer friendly, personalized audiology services to ensure you get the care you need as you begin your journey toward better hearing.