As the nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day this week, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is encouraging the public to make hearing protection a priority by taking some basic precautionary measures at fireworks, festivals, parades, and other events.
Many traditional Fourth of July festivities can reach potentially dangerous noise levels. Fireworks and firecrackers can be as loud as 150 decibels—louder than a jackhammer or jet plane takeoff. Safe listening levels are generally considered 75-80 decibels. The louder the noise, the less time it takes to damage a person’s hearing.
While noise-induced hearing loss is completely preventable, once it occurs, it is irreversible. Here are some tips to celebrate safely:
- Use Hearing Protection: Basic earplugs, which can be picked up at most drugstores, offer surprisingly good hearing protection for most teens and adults. Children are generally better off using well-fitting earmuffs over earplugs.
- Keep Your Distance: Stand at least 500 feet from noise sources, such as speakers, a stage, or fireworks launch site. The closer you are, the more likely you are to hurt your ears.
- Know Your Limits: If you (or anyone in your party) are experiencing ringing in your ears or any other ear discomfort, leave. Listen to your body.
Anyone who continues to experience pain or ringing in the ears, or is having difficulty hearing, should visit a certified audiologist for a hearing evaluation. Learn more at: www.asha.org/public.