This July is Firework Safety Month, and we want to educate our patients on how fireworks can affect their hearing health.
Although beautiful to watch, fireworks can be dangerous. Not only are they explosives that can cause physical harm if not used correctly, but they can also cause hearing loss. The loud sound produced by fireworks can be detrimental to your hearing if you’re not careful when watching or using fireworks.
Fireworks Can Affect Your Hearing
One of the most common types of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss affects people of all ages, including children, teenagers and adults who are exposed to harmful noises. Noise-induced hearing loss can happen after only one time of being around an intense impulse sound, such as an explosion like fireworks, or it can be the result of continuous exposure to loud sounds over time.
Fireworks are incredibly loud, reaching 140 to 170 decibels. Any sound over 85 decibels can cause damage to your hearing, and fireworks are double that level of sound.
Depending on how close you are to the explosion of fireworks, a single incident can cause a temporary decrease in hearing by damaging the hair cells in the inner ear. Occasionally, the chemicals in the inner ear can add nutrients to the hair cells and repair them after a while, returning your hearing. However, exposure to loud sounds without hearing protection can result in lasting hearing loss,
Symptoms of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Exposure to loud sounds can result in the following symptoms:
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Sounds seem distorted or muffled
- Difficulty understanding speech
If you have experienced any of these symptoms after being exposed to a loud sound, please call our office immediately. We will test your hearing and help you experience relief by diagnosing any signs of noise-induced hearing loss or tinnitus.
Protect Your Hearing This Summer
Because fireworks can reach a dangerously high sound level, it is important to wear custom hearing protection whenever you will be around them. Custom hearing protection, such as earplugs, will protect your ears while still allowing you to enjoy the show.