Who doesn’t love the 4th of July? Sunny weather, time with friends and family, lots of summer food…and of course, fireworks. While fireworks are a quintessential part of enjoying the 4th of July holiday, one of the main dangers of fireworks has to do with potential hearing loss. We at Miracle-Ear encourage everyone to take the necessary precautions to protect your hearing.
Noise from fireworks can reach up to 155 decibels. To put this into perspective, this is louder than a jackhammer (130 dB) or a jet plane taking off (150 dB). Damage to hearing can come from multiple lifetime exposures, extended exposure up to eight hours, or a one-time blast. According to the Centers for Disease Control, loud noise over 120 dB can cause immediate harm to your hearing.
Surprisingly, the greatest risk of hearing loss is not the professional fireworks displays (although these can pose a risk), but the backyard fireworks people use themselves to celebrate because of the proximity of the sound. Never hold a firework or firecracker, with the intention to throw it before it explodes. Even if you do throw it in time (to avoid injury to your hands and face), if it is anywhere close to you when it explodes, one of the biggest dangers of that firework is that it has the potential to cause irreversible hearing loss. Your hearing can be immediately and permanently damaged. The National Institutes of Health recommends using ear plugs when around fireworks or other loud noises. Remember the old adage, “It's better to be safe than sorry."
How loud is too loud, and how can those loud sounds damage your ears? Watch to learn more about how to protect your ears from noise-induced hearing loss.