Parkridge Medical Group July 03, 2015

Boom, boom! Pop! Fizz! When your celebrations get explosive, take steps to keep fireworks displays from damaging your hearing.

For many people, the Fourth of July and other holidays aren’t complete without fireworks exploding in the night. The celebratory din, however, can have unpleasant consequences. Fireworks can produce noise exceeding 150 decibels, and it only takes 85 decibels to cause permanent hearing loss, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Let’s Hear It for Safety

What can you do to enjoy the pyrotechnics show without suffering noise-induced hearing loss? First, simply use common sense. If the sound of fireworks is startling or leaves you with a ringing in your ears—a sign of possible hearing loss—it’s dangerous, and you should move away. If you hang around to allow your ears to “adjust” to the noise, you risk sustaining further damage to your hearing.

One of the simplest and most important hearing safety measures you can take is to keep your distance from the fireworks. The ASHA recommends setting up a viewing area at least 500 feet from the explosions, which is a little more than the length of one-and-a-half football fields.

When taking in a fireworks display, don’t forget to protect your ears. Earplugs are fine for adults and teenagers, and earmuffs are best for children younger than 8. With your hearing safe, you’ll be able to enjoy the spectacle without worrying.

If you have concerns about hearing loss, talk with your primary care physician about possible causes. To find a primary care physician in our area, visit parkridgehealth.com/physicians.