4th of July celebrations are almost here! With longer days and weather that begs for you to break out the grill, you can’t help spending all your time outside.
Before running out the door, it is important to know how to defend yourself from common summer hazards. Sunscreen for your skin, sunglasses for your eyes and bug spray for those pesky mosquito-borne illnesses are all excellent forms of protection. But what about your ears? Fireworks are a summer staple and can pose a real risk to your hearing health.
How Loud is Too Loud?
One of the most common causes of hearing loss is noise exposure. Sounds are measured in units called decibels (dB). Anything below 85 decibels is considered safe. Sounds above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. The higher the decibel, the shorter period of time it takes for hearing loss to occur.
- Exposure to sound over 85 dB can cause damage within 8 hours
- Exposure to sound over 100 dB can cause damage within 15 minutes
- Exposure to sound over 120 dB can cause damage instantly
How Loud Are Fireworks?
Fireworks clock in at 150-170 dB, well over the safety threshold. To put this into perspective, a jet engine taking off is measured at 140 dB.
The bang from a single firecracker at close range can cause immediate and permanent hearing damage.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
Observing the festivities from a distance and wearing earplugs are the best ways to protect your ears this summer.
The further you are from a sound, the lower the decibel level and the less likely the sound is to affect your hearing. Adults should be at least 50 to 60 feet away from where the fireworks are set off in order to be safe. However, children should be at least 150 feet away, as their ears are more sensitive.
Earplugs should also be worn. Disposable earplugs made of foam or silicone are readily available and will allow you to hear conversations while blocking potentially damaging sounds.
Let freedom ring this 4th of July, not your ears. Follow these tips and enjoy a happy and safe Independence Day.
For more tips and tricks to protect your hearing this summer, visit AdvancedENT.com or call us at 856-602-4000.