Scott Marquardt, Au.D.
Protecting your family’s hearing this 4th July
Tomorrow is 4th of July and we can already smell the hot dogs sizzling on the barbecue. Mmm…
Fireworks are one of the most exciting traditions each year and we all love to go to a display. They may be beautiful to watch as they whizz up and explode into the sky, but they are seriously loud. So loud in fact, they can actually cause permanent issues with your hearing. To put it into context, at an average of 155 decibels, a firework is actually as loud as standing three feet from a jet engine starting up.
Here are three key tips to keep your family’s hearing safe this 4th July:
1. Wear ear plugs
You’ll still be able to see and mostly hear the fireworks go off, but all those harmful extra decibels will be absorbed with a decent set of earplugs. They’re also a useful purchase for loud music festivals and other events in the future. And, of course, they’re handy for getting a bit of peace and quiet if you have loud neighbours!
2. There’s an app for that
There really is. Use a free app such as Decibel X (available on both Apple and Android) to measure the levels of noise around you and check you are within safe levels. Usually, this is around 85 decibels or below.
3. Moving backward
The simplest way to reduce issues caused by loud sounds is simply to move away to a safe distance. A good indicator is, if you have to raise your voice, it’s probably too loud, keep moving backward.
You’ll know if one of your family has suffered hearing damage if they are experiencing pain, have buzzing or ringing in one or both ears, or they complain of hearing muffled sounds. If any of these symptoms last longer than 48 hours, it is time to visit the doctor.
Remember, children and the elderly are the most vulnerable, so be extra careful and plan ahead if you are out with your kids or grandma/grandpa. Most of all, whatever your plans, enjoy yourself safely and have a truly fantastic 4th of July!