May 31st is “Save Your Hearing Day” and a great time to remember to take the precautions needed to keep your ears in tip top shape. While some hearing problems are genetic or health related, others are caused by environmental factors -exposure to high-decibel noise. While repeated, long term exposure to loud noise can cause hearing loss, it can also occur at a single event. Loud rock concerts, heavy machinery and the noise created by guns can all contribute to hearing loss – and so can being around loud fireworks!
Experts have shown that hearing loss can occur with noises about 85 decibels. So, it is alarming to think of the risk taken when being around certain fireworks which reach up to 135 decibels. While all ears can fall prey to the deafening sound of pyrotechnics, the most vulnerable are children. If you are working with fireworks, as a professional or just shooting off your own backyard show, it is advisable to take precautions. You may not need earplugs if you are just a spectator, especially if you are a safe distance away. However, it is safest for children to wear earplugs and ear muffs. Not only will these two protective devices protect their little ears, it will keep sensitive kids from becoming scared or startled by the loud bangs. If you think the firework blasts are too loud but aren’t sure, it is best to move your lawn chairs further back from the festivities. Various smart phone apps are also available that can measure the amount of sound so you know for sure that you’re hearing too much of a good thing.