Summer brings with it a lot of fun events, including concerts, sporting events, and barbeques.
While a blast, these events can also pose a risk to our hearing – the prolonged exposure to loud noises can damage the inner ear and potentially lead to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). NIHL can occur after just a brief exposure to loud sounds. The louder the sound, the quicker NIHL can set in.
Exposure to loud sounds can also result in tinnitus, a ringing or other noise in the ears. Tinnitus stemming from exposure to noise often occurs gradually, so you may not realize your ears are being damaged for quite some time.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can protect your hearing so that you can enjoy the fun of summer without doing irreparable damage.
Prepare for the Fourth
It wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without fireworks. Unfortunately, standing too close to fireworks can be akin to a jet engine. Taking some precautions can help you enjoy the oohs and aahs safely. Fireworks can reach sound levels of between 150 to 175 decibels (dB). The World Health Organization recommends the loudest fireworks adults should be exposed to is 140 dB (120 dB for children).
It’s important to remember that prolonged exposure to sounds at or above 85 dB can cause hearing loss.
- Pack the earplugs: For adults and older kids, try these by Westone or something similar.
- Muffle the sound: Younger children are even more vulnerable to loud noise, so buy some earmuffs from manufacturers such as Banz and Ems for Kids. Infants should not be exposed to fireworks.
- Keep your distance: Attend community displays rather than private family ones if possible. Try to be at least 500 feet away from the fireworks to enjoy them at a safer distance.