Fireworks and Ears

Fireworks and Ears

Kids (and some adults!) love the loud noises that come along with fireworks, but you should know that these loud party favors can be very damaging to ears, and there are some precautions you should take.

Any sound above 85 decibels can cause hearing problems, and fireworks produce 150-175 decibels of sound. However, the possible damage depends on how close you are to the source of the noise, how loud the firework is and how old you are.

Dr. Bruce Jones, the best audiologist in Valdese, and the staff at Ear Sinus & Allergy Center want you to have a safe and happy Fourth of July! Here are some facts about loud noise and the damage it can cause.

Preventing damage from fireworks

Infant ears are much more sensitive than adult ears, and babies should not be exposed to fireworks at all. If you are an adult, you should be 15 to 20 meters away from a firework when it goes off. Your children should be 50 to 60 meters away from fireworks.

If you do plan on going to a fireworks show, it is a good idea to wear ear plugs, no matter how far you think you will be from the noise. There are inexpensive foam ear plugs you can get that go into the ear. Make sure you insert them correctly, by rolling them down until they are a very small size and then inserting them deep into the ear. The foam will expand, creating a seal to keep loud noises from getting into the ear.

If you are often exposed to loud noises, you may want Dr. Jones, a Valdese audiologist, to make custom-made ear plugs for you.

If you are the one setting off the fireworks, you might want to invest in headphones. Headphones sit over the top of the ears. They tend to offer more protection than the foam ear plugs; plus, they are more comfortable and are easier to wear.

The dangers of loud noise

Exposure to loud noises can lead to many different hearing issues.

  • Tinnitus. This is a common condition that affects an estimated 50 million Americans. Tinnitus is an intermittent or continuous sensation of hearing ringing, hissing, whistling or another noise. This noise can vary in volume, and as you can imagine it can be extremely annoying. It can cause difficulty concentrating and sleeping, and can interfere with work and relationships.
  • Temporary threshold shift. This is a slight decrease in hearing, which typically lasts for only a day or so.
  • Permanent hearing loss.

If you think you have a sudden hearing problem from a loud noise, get to Dr. Jones, the best audiologist in Valdese, as soon as you can, within a week at most. The chances are better that hearing will recover if prompt medical attention is given.

If you think you have hearing damage from fireworks or any other loud noise, don’t wait. See Dr. Bruce Jones at Ear Sinus & Allergy Center as soon as possible! Call (828) 319-2226 to make an appointment.