HEARING TIPS

The reason why You Should Protect Your Ears During Parties and Parades

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

Now that it’s summer you probably have your agenda filled with parties and other plans. Being outdoors partying on Independence Day is something a lot of people do. You love to go to live music events, 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 moment to carefully consider how you might protect your hearing.

Noise-induced hearing loss impacts nearly 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 almost 100 percent avoidable. It just takes a little foresight and good sense. Consider some examples of why you need to take care of your ears as you enjoy yourself this season and how to do it.

Fireworks are the Summers Most Harmful Hearing Risks.

At the top of the list of potential dangers associated with fireworks, hearing damage is at the top. 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. With extensive exposure, any sound over 85 decibels can cause noise-related hearing damage. 150 to 175 decibels is the typical range of fireworks. The World Health Association estimates that adults could withstand up to 140 decibels of sound for a short time, but children will surely have damage at just 120. Fireworks are commonly louder than both those numbers.

The good news? The further away you are away from the explosion, the lower your risk of hearing damage. 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. Babies should not be there and children should be at least 70 yards away.

Because You Love Live Music

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. It’s safe to say; most people attend concerts for longer than that!

It is Easy to Forget how Loud the Crowd is

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 most likely be louder and more consistent at a celebration or parade.

A Small Amount of Common Sense Goes a Long Way

What can you do to take care of your ears? It’s a lot more common sense than you might realize. Start by assessing your hearing risk at the event:

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

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. 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. 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.

What About the Non-Sound Risks at Celebrations?

Noise is only one of several concerns. Celebrations bring with them hot sun, too much drink, too little water and fatigue. If you already have some hearing loss or if you suffer from tinnitus, these things will get worse.

Try not to overdo it. Maybe consider starting a bit later if you plan on partying into the night. Always drink plenty of water and try to moderate your alcohol consumption. Getting out of the heat for short periods is essential. 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 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.

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