This Fourth of July will probably look different than past celebrations. It’s still important to take extra safety precautions, especially if you have hearing loss. Whether you need to maintain social distancing between yourself, friends and family, wear a face mask, or wear hearing protection, there are measures that can be taken to care for your overall health.
In preparation for your festivities, here are some facts about noise and healthy hearing tips to consider.
Fireworks are at the center of the Fourth of July. Please be aware that damage to your hearing can happen due to excessive noise exposure. It only takes one short burst of loud noise to possibly cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Fireworks can generate the same amount of noise that a jet engine produces. That’s somewhere between 125-155 decibels (dB). As mentioned in previous blog posts, 85 dB is the threshold of noise that a human can tolerate before it causes hearing damage. Being in close proximity to fireworks can instantly cause hearing loss.
Faint noises: 30 - 40 dB. These include sounds like a whisper or a quiet room.
Moderate noises: 50 - 60 dB. These include sounds such as moderate rainfall and normal conversations.
Very loud noises: 70 - 90 dB. These include vacuum cleaners, alarm clocks, city traffic, hair/hand dryers, motorcycles, truck traffic.
Extremely loud noises: 100 - 130 dB. These include noises from power tools, a lawnmower, a snowmobile, or rock concerts.
Painful noises: 140 dB or more. These include noises from fireworks or gunshots.
When sounds are heard the stereocilia (delicate hair cells) located in our inner ear vibrate. This creates nerve signals that are interpreted by the brain as sound. It is possible to experience too many vibrations in the stereocilia. Exposure to loud noises can harm to these hair cells, and lead to sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus. The first cells that become permanently damaged are the ones that vibrate the fastest. These are the ones that provide clearer higher-frequency sounds, such as chirping birds or the sound of children and some women speaking.
You can still enjoy fireworks without risking your hearing health. It’s best to see a professional fireworks display, and maintain an appropriate distance to enjoy the visual aspects. If you are not sure how loud the fireworks will be, or won’t be able to enjoy the show at a distance, carry some earplugs with you to wear. Your earplugs need to closely fit your ear canals and seal off as much noise as possible in order to sufficiently block out excessive noises. Read the instructions on your earplug packaging for proper usage. Earplugs are an inexpensive and simple way to protect your ears.
Here are some warning signs if you are exposed to dangerous noises, and experience hearing loss:
If you are experiencing hearing loss that was caused by any loud noises, like fireworks, or another reason, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. Our hearing instrument specialists will go over the best treatment options with you.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require new hearing aid fittings, repairs and re-fittings. If you need a hearing aid repair, we ask that you please wait in your car, while wearing your mask, and place your hearing aids in a clean zip lock bag. We will come to your car to get them. If you are having any issues with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.