Safely enjoy fireworks with these hearing protection tips.
The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and that means there will be jubilant celebrations of independence complete with colorful fireworks displays. While flying sparks are certainly beautiful to watch, they pose risks of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Some commercial-grade fireworks can reach ear-damaging levels that exceed a typical rock concert! This doesn’t mean you have to skip the tradition. But if you’re planning on attending a firework show, it’s important to take sensible precautions.
In honor of the 4th, here are four ways to protect your hearing over the holiday:
- Leave the show to the pros
- Check your distance
- Wear hearing protection
- Know when to seek medical advice
Read more about these hearing protection tips you can use this Independence Day below.
1. Leave the show to the pros
When it comes to enjoying a firework show, attend a community organized display rather than setting off your own. In addition to avoiding fire and other safety – and legal – hazards of at-home fireworks, local venues usually feature a designated area to take in the show at a safe hearing and viewing distance. Keep reading to learn where to sit when you arrive at the show in our next hearing protection tip.
2. Check your distance
Remember this: if it’s too loud, back up a little. Unlike at a concert, you don’t need to be close to the action to see it. In fact, many fireworks displays are best viewed at a distance. When you arrive at the event, find a spot at least 500 feet from the source of the sound. If you’re not sure if you’re far enough away, measure the volume with a smartphone app, like Sound Check. Anything above 85 could put you at risk for NIHL. With or without an app, if the fireworks noise is causing ear pain, ringing in the ears, or you find yourself having to shout to a friend at close range, it’s a good idea to head even farther back – or watch from a nearby backyard.
3. Wear hearing protection
Earplugs are an effective and inexpensive way to protect your hearing on the 4th of July. Foam versions can be found in most pharmacies and convenience stores or opt for one of these other gadgets that can help protect your hearing. From noise-cancelling headphones to ear muffs and ZEM hearing protectors, there are many options available that can help you enjoy the show while helping to keep your ears safe.
For young firework show-attendees, experts recommend choosing earmuffs for the best protection.
4. Know when to seek medical advice
If you are experiencing signs of hearing loss after a Fourth of July firework show – or any loud event – it’s important to seek medical attention as quickly as possible. Common symptoms of hearing damage include ringing in the ears, pain, or partial or complete loss of hearing. A licensed audiologist can help you determine the source of your symptoms and recommend the best treatment option for you.
These hearing protection tips will help you have fun and stay safe this Fourth of July. For even more ways to protect your hearing, check out this infographic or peruse our collection of hearing loss-related articles on our blog today.