The summer season is here, and your schedule is quite possibly already loaded with tons of parties and activities. It’s almost The Fourth of July and nearly everyone you know will be outdoors celebrating. You love to go to concerts, parades, marching bands, and of course-fireworks. There is no cause to remain home and miss out on the fun, but take a second to give consideration to how you might take care of your hearing when you do go out to celebrate this holiday season.
Noise-induced hearing loss impacts around 6 percent of the U.S. adult populace less than the age of 70; that equals around 40 million people. The unfortunate part is this kind of hearing damage is pretty much 100 percent preventable. What’s needed is a little forethought and good sense. Give consideration to some reasons you really should take care of your ears as you enjoy yourself this summer and how to do it.
Leading the List of Offenders are Exploding Fireworks.
With all the potential dangers that come with fireworks, hearing damage tops the list. Experts frequently warn people about burns or fires, but usually don’t say much about hearing damage.
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 tolerate up to 140 decibels for a short time, children can only deal with short periods at 120 decibels. This is according to the World Health Association. Fireworks are commonly louder than both those numbers.
The positive spin? The potential for hearing damage is exponentially lowered the further you are from the explosion. People watching, for example, from their porch, would be less at risk than someone in the stands where the fireworks show is happening. If you are an adult it is recommended that you stand at least 30 yards away. Children should be 70 yards away to take care of their hearing and babies shouldn’t be there at all.
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. Almost all concerts are longer than that!
Then There are the People
The most underestimated danger for hearing damage is crowd noise. When the crowd is into the celebration everyone is talking and yelling loudly. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association claims that crowd noise at sports games ranges between 80 to 90 decibels. Unfortunately, it will quite possibly be louder and more consistent at a parade or celebration.
A Small Amount of Common Sense Goes a Long Way
How can you keep your ears safe? Even though you may not know it, its actually common sense. Start by assessing your hearing risk at the event:
- Will there be loud music?
- Large crowds?
If you expect that the celebration is going to be loud you can make the smart choice. 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. Plan on watching from at least a block or two away. It can also be more enjoyable to be a little further back where the crowds are less.
The Sumer Season has Other Risks Besides Hearing Damage
Noise is only one of several concerns. 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. If the celebration is going to last all day and into the night, maybe start later. If you’re planning on partaking of alcohol try moderation and don’t forget to drink plenty of water. You also need to be able to go somewhere and get out of the heat for a while. Where is the nearest shade? Is there an air-conditioned building nearby?
Don’t expose yourself to permanent hearing damage for a once a year celebration. You can protect your ears and still have a great time. If you are worried that you may have already suffered hearing damage it is important to schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist.