I know the fourth of July is still weeks away, but I need to get up on my soapbox and do a bit of pre-season preaching.
As we all know, fireworks are a key part to celebrating the fourth of July. The challenge is that many people are comfortable protecting their eyes around fireworks, but few do anything to protect their ears. No one likes wearing earplugs, but without them your hearing can be damaged forever and you may end up needing a hearing aid.
The biggest challenge with fireworks and hearing loss isn’t the big loud explosion in the distance. Those aren’t good for your ears, but at a safe distance they shouldn’t pose a serious problem for your hearing. The real danger is the dumb friend who thinks it’s funny to light a firecracker just a few feet away from your ear. One bad joke or an accident and your ears can be damaged forever.
For a point of reference, here are some common summer sounds and their decibel (dB) levels:
- Rustling leaves: 10 dB
- A whisper: 20 dB
- Humming of a fridge: 40 dB
- A conversation: 60 dB
- Busy street traffic: 70 dB
- Vacuum cleaner: 80 dB
- Lawn mower: 90 dB
- A large orchestra: 100 dB
And now … how fireworks and other loud noises measure up:
- Fireworks for spectators at 800 feet away: 88 to 126 dB
- Fireworks for spectators at 10 feet away: 155 dB
- Front row of a rock concert: 110 dB
- Military jet taking off: 140 dB
- Motorcycles, firearms, small firearms: 120 to 150 dB
So when it comes to ear safety, it’s best to enjoy a fireworks display from far away. If you want to prevent damage to your ears and your children’s ears, pick up some inexpensive foam earplugs at the local drugstore. I know they’re not the most fashionable things to sport, but I’d rather spend 20 minutes wearing them than the rest of my life whishing I had.
Here is my special offer to you … if you live in theMilwaukee area, stop over at The Hearing Professionals and we’ll give you a set of earplugs absolutely free.