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Fireworks and Your Ears

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.

About Adam Bernstein

Adam Bernstein is the owner of The Hearing Professionals, Milwaukee's premier hearing healthcare facility. As the owner of The Hearing Professionals, Mr. Bernstein has over 20 years of experience in the hearing healthcare industry. He began his career in 1995 at GN Danavox, one of the largest hearing aid manufacturers in the world. After leaving Danavox, Mr. Bernstein opened two hearing healthcare offices in Chicago, IL. In 2001 he moved to Milwaukee, WI and opened The Hearing Professionals. In 2008 he added a second Wisconsin office in the town of Brookfield. Today The Hearing Professionals is the largest private audiology practice in SE Wisconsin. Mr. Bernstein has written numerous articles on hearing healthcare which has appeared in newspapers throughout the country and has been interviewed by news programs regarding advances in the hearing industry. Mr. Bernstein a member of Unitron’s Customer Advisory Board and a graduate of The University of Minnesota. You can email him at and you can visit The Hearing Professionals at

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