Noise From Fireworks Can Threaten Young Ears
The Fourth of July weekend is a time for celebrations and beautiful fireworks displays. But, parents do need to take steps to protect their children's ears from loud fireworks, health experts caution.
"Fireworks can be harmful to a child's ears," Dr. Daniel Brennan, pediatrician at Sansum Clinic.
The World Health Organization guidelines advise that children not be exposed to sounds that exceed 140 decibels (dB). Fireworks, however, can range from as low as 130 dB to as high as 190 dB. For comparison, the sound of a jet taking off from a distance of about 300 feet is 125 dB, the U.S. Department of Labor says.
Dr. Brennan added that although many noise-related injuries are temporary, some are permanent. There are no treatment options to restore hearing loss resulting from exposure to excessively loud noise.
Mild hearing loss that individuals experience immediately after recreational noise exposure is usually temporary. “But exposure to loud sounds over time can have a cumulative and permanent effect on hearing, so protect your kids' ears now to keep them hearing in the future,” Brennan added.
One simple way is to sit further away from the fireworks, he suggested.
"The farther away you are, the less impact the fireworks will have on a child's hearing," Brennan explained.
It’s best to sit at least 500 feet away from where the fireworks are launched. Also, consider purchasing noise-reduction earplugs or headphones, which can help protect a child's hearing.