July 4th is upon us and a typical part of the annual celebration is for families to attend a fireworks show. It is just part of being American! The only issue is that anyone planning to be near fireworks should heed caution – especially children!
Did you realize that the noise generated by fireworks can exceed 150 dB? This is louder than a plane flying directly overhead! This ‘noise’ can cause hearing loss.
Hearing loss can develop over time and most times it does, however, there have been recorded situations where hearing loss can occur from a single exposure to a penetrating sound – such as a fireworks show. Sadly, one in five teenagers have already reported hearing loss; that is about 20% of our US population according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Rachel Bishop, Doctor of Audiology with Connect Hearing, a hearing health care company with more than 300 locations throughout the US, has three simple ways to prevent hearing trauma over the holiday weekend:
1. Do wear hearing protection - foam earplugs can be purchased at any pharmacy or home supply store. For proper insertion, remember to roll the foam tightly and insert the plug deeply into your ear canal.
2. Don't select seats near the display - the closer your ears are to the source of the sound, the louder and more damaging the sound can be.
3. If your hearing is muffled or you experience ringing, DO move your seats farther from the source of the noise and call your audiologist the following day to schedule a hearing evaluation.
4. DO enjoy the show!
There are telltale side effects that can help to determine if hearing damage or loss has occurred after exposure to loud noises. They include:
· Pain in the ears immediately after the noise has stopped;
· A ringing or buzzing noise in the ears;
· Having sudden difficulty understanding speech.
If you or your children begin to experience any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to visit your neighborhood Connect Hearing Centers for a free evaluation. For locations as well as an online hearing test and tips on how to prevent future damage, visit connecthearing.com.
Fireworks can still be the best part of your 4th of July celebrations. It is just good to know up front what can affect your family for many years to come. The more you know, the more prepared you can be to protect you and your children from potential harm!