HEARING TIPS

Shielding Your Hearing at Parties as Well as Festivities is an Important Thing to do

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

Now that the weather is warm you quite possibly have your agenda loaded with parties and other plans. It’s almost Independence Day and nearly everybody you know will be outside celebrating. You love to attend concerts, parades, marching bands, and of course-fireworks. When going out to have fun this holiday season, don’t miss out on the good times, just take a second to carefully consider how you should protect your hearing.

Noise-induced hearing loss has an effect on nearly 6 percent of the U.S. adult populace under the age of 70; that equates to around 40 million people. The sad part is this kind of hearing damage is just about 100 percent avoidable. It just takes a little planning and good sense. Give consideration to some examples of why you should really protect your ears as you enjoy yourself this season and how to do it.

FireWorks are the Most Noisy of all.

With all the potential dangers that come with fireworks, hearing damage tops the list. Hearing damage is not mentioned much by experts, but it tops the list of dangers associated with fireworks.

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. With extensive exposure, any sound over 85 decibels can cause noise-related hearing damage. Fireworks typically range from 150 to 175 decibels. Even though adults may withstand up to 140 decibels for a short time, children can only handle short periods at 120 decibels. This is according to the World Health Association. Still, both those numbers are lower than what you would expect from a firework

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. Babies should not be there and children should be at least 70 yards away.

You Really Love Live Music

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.

Hearing loss is a constant factor when it comes to repeated exposure to loud 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.

Then There are the People

The most underestimated danger for hearing damage is crowd noise. At a good event, there will be people on all sides of you shouting to talk over everybody else. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association claims that crowd noise at sports games ranges between 80 to 90 decibels. Unfortunately, it will probably be higher and more consistent at a parade or celebration.

Use Common Sense When Celebrating

What can you do to protect your ears? You may not realize that it’s actually common sense. Assess the hearing risk of the event beforehand:

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

You can make some useful choices based on what you expect from the celebration. While enjoying live music, crowds, or fireworks, you need to wear ear protection. With something simple like foam earplugs, you can still hear what’s going on, but at a much safer level.

If there is a fireworks show, take the family back to a safe distance. The nature of fireworks means you can enjoy them without being in the front row. Watch from a couple of blocks away, at least, to be safe. It can also be more enjoyable to be a little further back where the crowds are less.

What About the Non-Sound Risks at Celebrations?

Sound levels are not the only concern here. Hot sun, not enough water, excessive drinking, and fatigue also can be a concern. If you have tinnitus or suffer from hearing loss these things will make them worse.

Try not to overdo it. 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. 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 make an appointment with a hearing care specialist.

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