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

The warm season is cool because you can fill your agenda with parties and plans. Being outside celebrating on The Fourth of July is something lots of people do. Parades, marching bands, and live music are frequently part of the good times, and don’t forget fireworks! When going out to have fun this holiday season, don’t pass up on the good times, just take a second to carefully consider how you might 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 equates to around 40 million people. The sad part is this form of hearing damage is virtually 100 percent preventable. It just takes a little forethought and good sense. Think about some examples of why you should take care of your hearing as you have fun this season and how to do it.

Because Fireworks are the Most Harmful

There are many potential dangers of fireworks but hearing damage tops the list. Hearing damage is not mentioned much by experts, but it tops the list of dangers associated with fireworks.

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. With extensive exposure, any sound over 85 decibels can cause noise-related hearing damage. The average range of fireworks is 150 to 175 decibels. Even though adults may tolerate up to 140 decibels for a short time, children can only handle short periods at 120 decibels. This is according to the World Health Association. Fireworks are normally louder than both those numbers.

The good news? The further away you are away from the explosion, the lower your risk of hearing damage. Watching the fireworks show from nearby is definitely more damaging than watching them from your porch at home. If you are an adult it is recommended that you stand at least 30 yards away. Babies should not be there and children should be at least 70 yards away.

Live Music is Something you Love

Who doesn’t? And of course some of the best musicians in the world come out to perform in the summer. 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.

Hearing loss is a constant factor when it comes to repeated exposure to loud music. A sound at 100 decibels, which is typical level for live shows, becomes dangerous after just 15 minutes. It’s safe to say; most people attend concerts for longer than that!

The Crowd Noise Maybe Louder Than You Would Think

Crowds are the most underestimated hearing danger at celebrations. At a good event, there will be people on all sides of you shouting to talk over everyone else. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association claims that crowd noise at sports games ranges between 80 to 90 decibels. Unfortunately, it will probably be louder and more consistent at a celebration or parade.

Use Common Sense When Celebrating

What type of protection should you use for your ears? Even though you may not know it, its actually common sense. Start by assessing your hearing risk at the event:

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

What precautions you take depends on how loud you think the celebration will be. While enjoying live music, crowds, or fireworks, you need to wear ear protection. With something simple like foam earplugs, you can still hear what’s going on, but at a much safer level.

You will want to keep your family back at a safe distance at a fireworks show. You don’t have to be dangerously close to enjoy fireworks. A block or two away is the safest minimum distance. Being a little further away helps you avoid large crowds making the show more enjoyable

Holiday Celebrations Do Have Other Risks Besides Hearing Damage

Sound levels are not the only concern here. Celebrations bring with them hot sun, too much drink, too little water and fatigue. These things can make hearing loss or tinnitus worse.

Remember to celebrate in moderation. Don’t go to the celebration too early if it’s going to be a late night. If you’re planning on partaking of alcohol try moderation and don’t forget to drink plenty of water. You also need to be able to go somewhere and get out of the heat for a while. Where is the nearest shade? Is there an air-conditioned building nearby?

Celebrations come and go but your ears are a one time deal. Enjoy the holiday but be sure to take care of your ears also. If you are worried that you may have already suffered hearing damage it is important to agenda an appointment with a hearing care specialist.

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