How to Protect Your Hearing From Fireworks
While the fourth of July is an exciting time and brings about beautiful fireworks, it is important to remember fireworks can cause damage to your hearing. Through proper preparation, you and your loved ones can enjoy the Fourth of July holiday without the fear of damaging your ears.
Sound is measured in decibels (dB) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that sounds over 85 dB require hearing protection as well time exposure limitations. Fireworks have the potential to have a sound output ranging from 150-175 decibels. The World Health Organization recommends the maximum safe decibel for adults is 140 decibels and 120 decibels for children with the use of hearing protection. However, infants should not have any exposure to the noise produced from fireworks due to the anatomy of their ear canal. Infants have very small ear canals which therefore makes the sound pressure much greater than an adults.
The steps you can take to protect your hearing from the fireworks include:
- Keep a safe distance. The farther you are from the sound source the better it is for your hearing safety. A safe distance for adults is about 50-60 feet away from the source and 165-200 feet for children.
- Limit your time exposure to hazardous noise. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends only 15 minutes of exposure to a sound that is 115 decibels with the use of hearing protection.
- Wear hearing protection. Hearing protection helps to reduce the sound source. We recommend custom hearing protection earpieces.
How do I know how loud a sound is?
You can download a free sound level meter application on your phone such as NIOSH SoundLevel Meter or DecibelX. The application will measure how many decibels are being produced to inform you is you are being exposed to hazardous noise. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which sets legal guidelines for noise exposure in the work place, recommends only 4 hours of exposure to a sound that is 95dBA.
What can happen if I’ve been exposed to hazardous noise?
Tinnitus which is a ringing, buzzing or hissing in your ears when no sound is present. Tinnitus can occur immediately after you have been exposed to hazardous noise exposure without the use of hearing protection. The tinnitus can be temporary or permanent. According to the American Tinnitus Association, more than 50 million Americans are affected by tinnitus. If you experience constant tinnitus, we recommend you schedule a tinnitus evaluation appointment where we discuss tinnitus and evaluate your hearing.
Temporary hearing threshold shift can occur after exposure to loud noise. A temporary hearing threshold shift is temporary reduced hearing loss that recovers typically within a few days. If your hearing loss persists, we recommend scheduling an appointment for an audiological evaluation.
Interested in learning more? Attend one of our regular hearing solution events to learn more about our unique approach to hearing loss or give us a call at 916-646-2471.Contact Us Now