HEARING TIPS

Protecting Your Hearing at Events and Also Celebrations is an Essential Thing to Implement

Family enjoying independence day celebration oblivious to the risk of hearing loss from fireworks.

Now that the weather is warm you most likely have your schedule filled with parties and other plans. It’s almost Independence Day and nearly everyone you know will be outdoors enjoying. Parades, marching bands, and live music are usually part of the fun, and don’t forget fireworks! There is no cause to remain home and pass up on the good times, but take a second to give consideration to how you might protect your ears when you do go out to celebrate this holiday season.

Noise-induced hearing loss has an effect on nearly 6 percent of the U.S. adult populace below the age of 70; that equates to around 40 million people. The sad part is this kind of hearing damage is pretty much 100 percent preventable. All you need is a little forethought and good sense. Give consideration to some examples of why you really should take care of your hearing as you celebrate this summer and how to do it.

FireWorks are the Most Noisy of all.

There are many potential dangers of fireworks but hearing damage tops the list. Experts frequently warn people about burns or fires, but usually don’t say much about hearing damage.

Boys Town National Research Hospital states you’re at risk of hearing loss from fireworks regardless if you’re shooting them off yourself or watching them at a public show. After all, any sound over 85 decibels is capable of causing noise-related damage with extensive exposure. The typical range of fireworks is 150 to 175 decibels. For short durations 140 decibels is the limit for adults and 120 decibels for children before hearing damage may happen. Fireworks are commonly louder than both those numbers.

The positive spin? The potential for hearing damage is exponentially lowered the further you are from the explosion. For example, if you’re sitting in the stands at a field where they are shooting off the fireworks, you’re at greater risk than someone watching it from their porch. If you are an adult it is recommended that you stand at least 30 yards away. Children should be 70 yards away to protect their hearing and babies shouldn’t be there at all.

Live Music is Something you Love

Who doesn’t? Summer is the greatest time for some of the best musicians come out to play. The World Health Association states that a billion teens are at risk for hearing loss from music whether it is coming from ear-buds, a parade or a favorite band playing on stage.

Any person exposed to loud music faces the same possible consequence, but time is a factor when it comes to live music. Live shows are usually louder than 100 decibels which becomes dangerous after only 15 minutes. Most of the time a live concert is much longer than that.

The Crowd Noise Maybe Louder Than You Would Think

Crowds are the most underestimated hearing danger at celebrations. At a good event, there will be people on all sides of you shouting to talk over everyone else. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association says that at sporting events the crowd volume is 80 to 90 dB. Unfortunately, it will most likely be higher and more consistent at a celebration or parade.

A Small Amount of Common Sense Goes a Long Way

How can you keep your ears protected? Even though you might not know it, its actually common sense. Try to determine what the hearing risk is before the event:

  • Will there be loud music?
  • Large crowds?
  • Fireworks?

What precautions you take depends on how loud you think the celebration will be. If there is loud music or crowds, plan on wearing ear protection. Something simple like foam earplugs will allow you to hear what’s going on still, but at a safe level.

You will want to keep your family back at a safe distance at a fireworks show. Fireworks can easily be enjoyed from a safe distance. A block or two away is the safest minimum distance. Being a little further away helps you avoid large crowds making the show more enjoyable

What About the Non-Sound Risks at Celebrations?

Sound levels are not the only concern here. Celebrations bring with them hot sun, too much drink, too little water and fatigue. If you already have some hearing loss or if you suffer from tinnitus, these things will get worse.

Remember to celebrate in moderation. Don’t go to the celebration too early if it’s going to be a late night. Always drink plenty of water and try to moderate your alcohol consumption. Getting out of the heat for short periods is essential. Where is the nearest shade? Can you get access to an air-conditioned building?

Don’t expose yourself to permanent hearing damage for a once a year celebration. You can take care of your ears and still have a great time. If you are worried that you may have already suffered hearing damage it is important to schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist.

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