What comes to your mind when you read the words “Fourth of July?” Probably lots and lots of fireworks. The Fourth of July is great for celebrating our freedom and eating hotdogs, but it’s also America’s noisiest holiday. No matter if you are going to watch a professional display of fireworks, or maybe light off a few of your own, it’s important to know the risks it can pose to your hearing.
Dr. Nikki, an audiologist and ear specialist in Omaha, Nebraska, goes over how you can protect your ears this year and why it’s so important!
Noise-induced hearing loss
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is life altering and often permanent, but it is also avoidable! NIHL can be caused by either prolonged exposure to loud sounds, or by a single, intense loud sound like a firework. On average, a fireworks display is going to range anywhere from 140-160 decibels, with 85 being the baseline of when NIHL can occur.
Some warning signs to look out for that could mean the noise around you is occurring at dangerous levels:
You feel pain in your ears after leaving the area
You hear any ringing or buzzing
You can see people are talking but you can’t understand what they are saying
Protect your hearing
Leave it to the professionals
Not only do at-home fireworks put 8,000-9,000 people in the emergency room for treatment for their injuries, but they can be extremely damaging to your hearing as well. Fireworks that you set off yourself are in closer range to your ears and have a higher likelihood of causing hearing loss. To best protect your hearing, leave the fireworks display to the professionals and watch a community display instead of your own.
Wear ear protection
Whether you are going to try your hand at your own fireworks or trying to get as close to the action as possible for the professional display, don’t be without your ear protection! You can buy some foam earplugs, earmuffs, or come and get a custom pair made by an ear specialist in Omaha Nebraska. The benefits of custom ear plugs are that they are specifically designed for your ear canal and are superior in blocking out dangerous noise levels.
Keep a safe distance
The further you are from the fireworks, the less harmful the noise level will be. Distance can heavily influence the number of decibels you hear and with enough distance between you and the display, the better. You can still have a great view and see the amazing colors without worrying about damage to your hearing.
One of the best ways to make sure you are ready for the Fourth of July and other noisy events is to visit a local audiologist and ear specialist in Omaha Nebraska like Dr. Nikki! You can get a hearing consultation and test performed to get a benchmark of your hearing levels and be more able to recognize if something goes wrong. You can also make an active decision every day to protect your hearing like keeping down the volume on your earbuds or television. By taking preventative measures today, you can enjoy many more Fourth of Julys to come.
If after the Fourth of July you notice signs of hearing loss, visit Dr. Nikki, an audiologist and ear specialist in Omaha Nebraska, right away! She can help you take control of your hearing and protect you from future damage.