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Fireworks – How it Cause Hearing Damage & 9 Ways to Prevent

Fireworks are the symbol of the festive season. You can hear the bursting sounds of fireworks in the upcoming Christmas, New year and wedding season. But these loud noises are damaging your environment as well as your ears up to the large extent.

Is it necessary to think about protection of hearing from fireworks?

As bursting of fireworks is occasional. Well, these occasional and temporary fireworks can lead to permanent hearing loss. That’s why it calls of the necessity to protect your hearing from fireworks.

fireworks

Need to protect your hearing from fireworks

According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 30 million people in the U.S. are at risk of noise-induced hearing loss.

some common sounds on the decibel scale
source: crew.co

The sounds up to 85 dB are considered as safe sounds for your ears. But the fireworks contain the sound level up to 150 – 175 dB. Now think about this difference of the sounds that your ear are capable of and the sound level of fireworks. Will your ear be capable to handle this difference of sound level? Well, it’s damn impossible. That is why you should proceed with the idea of protecting your ears from fireworks.

Let’s discuss how these dangerous fireworks will pose a threat to your auditory system.

How fireworks damage your ears?

The World Health Organization recommends that adults not be exposed to more than 140 decibels of peak sound pressure. For children, the recommendation is 120 decibels. And the sound level of fireworks is 150 – 175.

Factors considering whether or not fireworks can cause damaging of ears are :

  • The distance a person is from the sound source
  • How loud the firework actually is?

Fireworks are harmful to the ears as it can lead to the following problems :

Noise – Induced hearing loss – The burning gunpowder releases hot gas that expands rapidly; when the gas expands to the point that it runs out of room within the firework, the resulting explosion causes a blast wave. The vibrations from that blast wave have the potential to cause permanent damage to the delicate hair cells of the inner ear. The inner ear contains delicate hair cells which do not regrow and cause permanent hearing loss.

Tinnitus – When your ears are exposed to the loud noise of fireworks for a long time, you will experience the ringing in the ears, which is a symptom of hearing loss.

Temporary threshold shift – Fireworks causes a slight decrease in hearing, which usually lasts only 24 hours. Afterward, your hearing will be recovered.

Permanent threshold shift – Loud noise can cause permanent hearing loss if it is not recovered within 24 hours. This change in hearing cannot be restored.

Acoustic trauma – Fireworks lead to the damage to the ear nerve and you can feel heaviness and fullness in the ear. This can also lead to acoustic neuroma including unilateral hearing loss.

Ear pain – Fireworks will destroy the fine cells of the eardrum. As a result, the ruptured eardrum will lead to constant mild or severe pain. You can feel this pain when the ears are exposed to the loud noise for long period.

If you come across any of the above signs, don’t ignore it immediately, rush to your nearby audiologists.

Now you are aware of the consequences of fireworks on your hearing. Generally, you can’t resist your ears from these fireworks as these are the indispensable part of the occasion. But you can protect your ear from these fireworks. Let’s see how.

How to protect your hearing from fireworks?

Following are the tips to protect your hearing from fireworks :

Use ear protection devices

hearing protection devices

You should wear hearing protection devices like – ear plugs (protects the outer from the noise) and earmuffs that you can wear over the head. They will protect your sensory inner cells by resisting these loud sounds to enter in the ears.

Avoid fireworks

Well, it may be difficult to avoid fireworks in the festive season. But you should put maximum efforts in order to stay away from fireworks. If you face fireworks suddenly, then leave that site immediately rather than standing or waiting for the fireworks to burst out. Cover your ears from thick cloths and run away.

Buy fireworks of less noise

low noise fireworks

All fireworks come with a noise rating, so selecting quieter fireworks will not only preserve a good relationship with your neighbors, it will protect your hearing as well. Quieter fireworks include fountains, wheels, falling leaves, and comets.

While not completely silent, they crackle and whistle instead of creating a loud, explosive boom. All are created for spectacular visual display but less noise. If you buy fireworks, your fireworks provider should be able to direct you to those that are lower on the noise rating scale.

Stay back at an appropriate distance

Generally, you should stay back at least 100 – 500 feet from the fireworks.

If you are dealing with a firework that explodes at 170 decibels, you would have to stand 15 to 20 meters away before you are at a safe limit. Children would have to stand 50 to 60 meters away from that same firework. Infants should not be exposed to fireworks, because they generally experience the greatest amount of sound pressure.

Use an app to know the decibels of sound

decibel meter app

Today, decibel meter apps can help you to determine the decibel of sounds that are safe. Thus with the help of these apps, you can choose which fireworks are suitable for your ears. And this will protect your ears from entering the unwanted and loud noise of the fireworks.

Turn down the music in your headphones

If you are facing fireworks on the way, you should turn down the music in your headphones and stay back from it. As of noise inside and outside the headphone, both will damage your hearing. As a result, your ear may not be capable to handle the noise from the two sources ie from fireworks and from the headphones.

Use noise canceling headphones

noise canceling headphones

You can protect your ears while listening to the music by wearing noise-canceling headphones. It will prevent the entry of unwanted loud noise of the crackers in your ears and secure the perfect rhythm of your music. Thus it has dual benefits. These headphones nullify the loud noises and protect your ears from the exposure of these noises.

Rest your ears

When your ears come to contact with the loud noise it leads to temporary threshold shift. Therefore, your ear needs recovery from these damages. You should rest your ears by staying in a calm environment and keeping yourself free from the noisy environment for some time.

Visit an audiologist for check up

Your hearing check-up will reveal the conditions of your ear after the exposure of fireworks, results of hearing exam and the precautions you have to take for good hearing. If you suffer any of the above problems due to fireworks. You should immediately visit your nearby hearing specialists. They will help you to minimize the damages and consequences caused by fireworks. Here are some tips to improve your hearing.

Now you can attend and enjoy firecrackers along with protecting your hearing from these by following the above tips. You should take lightly neither hearing problems nor crackers. As it is not possible to avoid crackers completely but you can make efforts to protect your ears.

Fireworks – How it Cause Hearing Damage & 9 Ways to Prevent
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