Your hearing can take a beating during Fourth of July fireworks.
So don’t forget hearing protection when you go to fireworks displays this holiday, the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) says.
Noise from fireworks can reach up to 155 decibels, which is louder than a jet plane taking off (150 decibels) or a jackhammer. Noise over 120 decibels can cause immediate harm to hearing, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
You may be surprised to learn that backyard fireworks, not professional displays, pose the greatest risk to hearing.
“Never hold a firework or firecracker, with the intention to throw it before it explodes. Even if you do throw it in time [to avoid injury to your hands and face], if it is anywhere close to you when it explodes, your hearing can be immediately, permanently damaged,” said Jackie Clark, president of the AAA. Clark is also a clinical professor at the UT Dallas School of Brain & Behavior Sciences.
“The inner ear contains delicate hair cells which do not regrow. Once these are damaged by noise, the result is permanent hearing impairment,” she explained in an academy news release.
“Children are at particular risk for hearing loss from backyard fireworks displays, because of their excitement and curiosity and wishing to be close to the activity,” Clark said.
Hearing protection should be used when around fireworks or other loud noises, the U.S. National Institutes of Health advises.
About 15 percent (37.5 million) of American adults aged 20 to 69 have some trouble with hearing, and about 29 million could benefit from the use of hearing aids, according to the NIH.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has more on fireworks safety.