Chances are, you are among the 87% of Americans who will be celebrating our nation’s independence this 4th of July. There are many exciting festivities to look forward to on independence day, including food, fun with friends, and of course FIREWORKS! But with blasts reaching 150 decibels at 3 feet, the explosive bangs and booms can cause serious hearing damage. The effect fireworks can have on your hearing depend on three factors: distance, intensity, and your age. To help you protect your family’s hearing this 4th of July, here are three easy tips.
1. Step Back and Enjoy the View:
Long or repeated exposure to sounds over 85 dB are considered unsafe. At close range, fireworks can start at 125 dB. According to the World Health Organization, adults should never be exposed to more than 140 dB of peak sound pressure (think of a firearm or jet engine), and children shouldn’t be exposed to more than 120 dB (a jet plane takeoff or a siren). The further away you are from the fireworks, the less likely they will impact your hearing. When watching big fireworks, adults ideally need to be 50 to 65 feet away (at least the length of a school bus). Kids need to be 165 to 200 feet away (about half of an NFL football field) from the same fireworks. You should never expose children under 12 months to fireworks due to their sensitivity to noise.
2. Wear Hearing Protection:
Foam earplugs are an inexpensive and portable way to protect your hearing at your 4th of July party. Even if you’re not hosting the party, consider buying several to pass out to your friends and family. Not only is this an easy way to make the experience more enjoyable for everyone, but it’s a friendly reminder to always be conscious of hearing protection.
3. It’s a Holiday, Get Funky!
Why not take it to the limit and make a statement with noise-blocking earmuffs. Not the fuzzy kind that you wear during Winter months, but heavy-duty muffs that are reusable and multi-purpose. Earmuffs with soft and padded ear cups will help air circulation around the ear and keep your head cool under the July sun. They’re not only great for fireworks, but also car races, arenas, power tools and doing yard work. There are many brands of earmuffs and lots of fun colors to choose from for you and your kids. You can even find foldable and easy-to-carry ear protection.
Enjoy those outdoor events this 4th of July, but be safe by using hearing protection and keeping your distance. If you think you may have damaged your hearing from loud sound exposure, be sure to schedule a screening with your local hearing specialist.