Family enjoying independence day celebration oblivious to the risk of hearing loss from fireworks.

Summer is cool because you can fill your schedule with parties and plans. It’s almost Independence Day and nearly everybody you know will be outside enjoying. Parades, marching bands, and live music are often part of the good times, and don’t forget fireworks! When going out to celebrate this summer, don’t pass up on the good times, just take a second to consider how you should take care of your hearing.

Noise-induced hearing loss has an effect on around 6 percent of the U.S. adult populace below the age of 70; that equals around 40 million people. The sad part is this type of hearing damage is virtually 100 percent preventable. What’s necessary is a little forethought and good sense. Take into consideration some reasons you really should protect your ears as you celebrate this season and how to do it.

At the top of the List of Hearing risks are Booming Fireworks.

At the top of the list of potential dangers associated with fireworks, hearing damage is at the top. Experts frequently warn people about burns or fires, but usually don’t say much about hearing damage.

Boys Town National Research Hospital states you’re at risk of hearing loss from fireworks regardless if you’re shooting them off yourself or watching them at a public show. After all, any sound over 85 decibels is capable of causing noise-related damage with extensive exposure. 150 to 175 decibels is the typical range of fireworks. Even though adults may tolerate up to 140 decibels for a short time, children can only deal with short periods at 120 decibels. This is according to the World Health Association. Fireworks are commonly louder than both those numbers.

The good news? The further away you are away from the explosion, the lower your risk of hearing damage. People watching, for example, from their porch, would be less at risk than someone in the stands where the fireworks show is happening. Boys Town recommends you stand at least 30 yards away if you are an adult. Babies should not be there and children should be at least 70 yards away.

Because You Love Live Music

Who doesn’t? Summer is the greatest time for some of the best musicians come out to play. The World Health Association states that a billion teens are at risk for hearing loss from music whether it is coming from ear-buds, a parade or a favorite band playing on stage.

Any person exposed to loud music faces the same possible consequence, but time is a factor when it comes to live music. Live shows are usually louder than 100 decibels which becomes dangerous after only 15 minutes. Almost all concerts are longer than that!

Then There are the People

The most underestimated danger for hearing damage is crowd noise. When the crowd is into the celebration everyone is talking and yelling loudly. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association claims that crowd noise at sports games ranges between 80 to 90 decibels. Unfortunately, it will probably be higher and more consistent at a celebration or parade.

Use Common Sense When Celebrating

How can you keep your ears protected? Even though you might not know it, its actually common sense. Start by assessing your hearing risk at the event:

  • Will there be loud music?
  • Large crowds?
  • Fireworks?

You can make some practical choices based on what you expect from the celebration. It is important to wear hearing protection if you are going to be around loud music, crowds, or fireworks. With something simple like foam earplugs, you can still hear what’s going on, but at a much safer level.

The family should be kept at a safe distance during a fireworks show. Fireworks can easily be enjoyed from a safe distance. Plan on watching from at least a block or two away. There will be fewer people back there, too, so you’ll be able to enjoy the show more comfortably.

The Sumer Season has Other Risks Besides Hearing Damage

There is more to talk about here than just sound. Celebrations bring with them hot sun, too much drink, too little water and fatigue. If you already have some hearing loss or if you suffer from tinnitus, these things will get worse.

Remember to celebrate in moderation. Maybe consider starting a bit later if you plan on partying into the night. If you’re planning on partaking of alcohol try moderation and don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Getting out of the heat for short periods is essential. Where is the nearest shade? Are you anywhere near a public building with air conditioning?

Don’t expose yourself to permanent hearing damage for a once a year celebration. You can take care of your ears and still have a great time. If you are worried that you may have already suffered hearing damage it is important to make an appointment with a hearing care specialist.

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