There are many traditions connected to New Year’s Eve. For many cultures around the world, it is common to set off fireworks at midnight. It was once believed that fireworks would frighten evil spirits thus guaranteeing a prosperous New Year. Though they are beautiful to watch, if you plan on setting off fireworks or watching a display, know that there is safety concern for your hearing.
Fireworks create a sound output of 150 to 175 decibels. The sound is caused by gas escaping just before the gun powder blows. Being close to loud noise, such as fireworks being exploded, can damage your hearing. While it is fun experience the fireworks displays with the beautiful lights no private individual should try to copy what professionals do. Among other dangers you can permanently damage your hearing. Being closer than 25 yards, twice that for children, can have serious damaging effects. The World Health Organization has recommended that adults avoid any noise louder than 140 decibels and for children 120 decibels.
If you expose your ears to loud noise repeatedly you run the risk these ailments:
- Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. Tinnitus is one of the early signs of hearing loss. It can be a difficult condition requiring medical treatment.
- Temporary threshold shift or being deaf for 24 hours. It might seem harmless or maybe funny, but it can lead to a more serious condition.
- Permanent hearing loss can and will be the result of too much loud noise. Once your hearing is gone you can’t get it back. Even with a hearing device, it will not be the same as your natural ears.
What can you do to enjoy the fireworks display without hurting your ears? Wear ear protection. You can find roll-down foam plugs in many sporting goods stores as well as drug stores and hardware stores. Many people wear special head phones. These headphones completely cover the ears and filter out damaging noise. For children it is best to use both earplugs and headphones. Naturally, infants should not be present at any celebrations featuring loud noises of any kind.
While we no longer rely on fireworks to keep away evil spirits that might steal our luck, they are still magical to watch. They fill us with wonder and awe giving us hope for a new, and improved year ahead. Protecting your hearing is one way to ensure that the coming year will be filled with happiness.
Find out more about what you can do to protect your ears with the team at Beltone DFW.