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

Summertime is cool because you can fill your agenda with parties and other activities. Being outside partying on The Fourth of July is something a lot of people do. You love to attend live music events, parades, marching bands, and of course-fireworks. When going out to have fun this summer, don’t miss out on the fun, just take a minute to carefully consider how you might take care of your hearing.

Noise-induced hearing loss has an effect on about 6 percent of the U.S. adult populace under the age of 70; that equals around 40 million people. The sad part is this form of hearing damage is pretty much 100 percent avoidable. What’s required is a little forethought and common sense. Take into consideration some examples of why you should really take care of your hearing as you enjoy yourself this summer and the best ways of doing it.

At the top of the List of Hearing risks are Exploding Fireworks.

At the top of the list of potential dangers associated with fireworks, hearing damage is at the top. Despite that, you rarely hear experts warning people about this threat like they do with fire or burns.

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. Noise-related hearing loss can begin at 85 decibels with repeated exposure. 150 to 175 decibels is the typical range of fireworks. The World Health Association estimates that adults could withstand up to 140 decibels of sound for a short time, but children will surely have damage at just 120. Still, both those numbers are lower than what you would expect from a firework

The good news? The further away you are away from the explosion, the lower your risk of hearing damage. 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. Boys Town recommends you stand at least 30 yards away if you are an adult. Children should be 70 yards away to take care of their hearing and babies shouldn’t be there at all.

Because You Love Live Music

Who doesn’t? And summer celebrations bring out some of the best musicians in the world! 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. A sound at 100 decibels, which is typical level for live shows, becomes dangerous after just 15 minutes. Most of the time a live concert is much longer than that.

And Lets not Forget About the Crowds

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 may 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?

You can make some practical choices based on what you expect from the celebration. It is important to wear hearing protection if you are going to be around loud music, crowds, or fireworks. If you still want to hear whats going on, but at a safe level, you should consider trying foam earplugs.

The family should be kept at a safe distance during a fireworks show. Fireworks can easily be enjoyed from a safe distance. Watch from a couple of blocks away, at least, to be safe. Being a little further away helps you avoid large crowds making the show more enjoyable

Holiday Celebrations Do Have Other Risks Besides Hearing Damage

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

Try to take it easy. 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. Finally, figure out where you can go to take the occasional break from the heat. Is there a shady spot around? Is there an air-conditioned building nearby?

Celebrations come and go but your ears are a one time deal. Enjoy the holiday but be sure to take care of your ears also. 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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