It is Important to Take Care of Your Hearing at Events or Celebrations
The warm weather season is here, and your agenda is most likely already packed with lots of parties and activities. Being outside partying on The Fourth of July is something many people do. With it comes marching bands, live music, parades and, of course, fireworks. There is no cause to stay home and pass up on the good times, but take a second to think of how you will protect your ears when you do go out to celebrate this holiday season.
Noise-induced hearing loss affects nearly 6 percent of the U.S. adult population below the age of 70; that equates to around 40 million people. It’s unfortunate that this form of hearing damage is pretty much 100 percent avoidable. It just takes a little forethought and common sense. Take into consideration some reasons you need to protect your hearing as you have fun this summer and how to do it.
Because Fireworks are the Worst
With all the potential dangers that come with fireworks, hearing damage tops the list. Despite that, you rarely hear experts warning people about this threat like they do with fire or burns.
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. Noise-related hearing loss can begin at 85 decibels with repeated exposure. The typical range of fireworks is 150 to 175 decibels. Even though adults may withstand up to 140 decibels for a short time, children can only take short periods at 120 decibels. This is according to the World Health Association. Both those numbers are lower than fireworks.
The good news? Your risk of hearing loss is reduced the further you are away from the explosion. Watching the fireworks show from nearby is definitely more damaging than watching them from your porch at home. 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.
Live Music is Something you Love
Who doesn’t? And of course some of the best musicians in the world come out to perform in the summer. 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.
The Crowd Noise Maybe Louder Than You Would Think
At celebrations, crowd noise is usually the most underestimated hearing danger. When the crowd is into the celebration everyone is talking and yelling loudly. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association says that at sporting events the crowd volume is 80 to 90 dB. Unfortunately, it will probably 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 protected? It’s a lot more common sense than you may realize. Assess the hearing risk of the event beforehand:
- Will there be loud music?
- Large crowds?
What precautions you take depends on how loud you think the celebration will be. While enjoying live music, crowds, or fireworks, you need to wear ear protection. Something simple like foam earplugs will allow you to hear what’s going on still, but at a safe level.
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. There will be fewer people back there, too, so you’ll be able to enjoy the show more comfortably.
Hearing Damage is not the Only Risk of the Summer
There is more to talk about here than just sound. Celebrations bring with them hot sun, too much drink, too little water and fatigue. These things can make hearing loss or tinnitus worse.
Try not to overdo it. If the celebration is going to last all day and into the night, maybe start later. Bring lots of water with you to prevent dehydration and if you are drinking alcohol, do it in moderation. Getting out of the heat for short periods is essential. Is there a shady spot around? Is there an air-conditioned building nearby?
Don’t expose yourself to permanent hearing damage for a once a year celebration. Enjoy the holiday but be sure to protect your ears also. If you are worried that you may have already suffered hearing damage it is important to schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist.