Family enjoying independence day celebration oblivious to the risk of hearing loss from fireworks.

The warm weather season is here, and your schedule is most likely already packed with tons of parties and activities. It’s almost Independence Day and nearly everybody you know will be outside celebrating. You love to go to concerts, parades, marching bands, and of course-fireworks. There is no cause to stay in your house and lose out on the fun, but take a second to consider how you should take care of your hearing when you do go out to celebrate this holiday season.

Noise-induced hearing loss impacts nearly 6 percent of the U.S. adult population under the age of 70; that equates to around 40 million people. The unfortunate part is this type of hearing damage is almost 100 percent avoidable. All you need is a little foresight and common sense. Take into consideration some reasons you need to take care of your hearing as you celebrate this summer and the best ways of doing it.

FireWorks are the Most Noisy of all.

There are many potential dangers of fireworks but hearing damage tops the list. Experts frequently warn people about burns or fires, but usually don’t say much about hearing damage.

Boys Town National Research Hospital states you’re at risk of hearing loss from fireworks regardless if you’re shooting them off yourself or watching them at a public show. After all, any sound over 85 decibels is capable of causing noise-related damage with extensive exposure. The typical range of fireworks is 150 to 175 decibels. For short durations 140 decibels is the limit for adults and 120 decibels for children before hearing damage may happen. Still, both those numbers are lower than what you would expect from a firework

The good news? Your risk of hearing loss is reduced the further you are away from the explosion. Watching the fireworks show from nearby is definitely more damaging than watching them from your porch at home. Boys Town recommends you stand at least 30 yards away if you are an adult. Children should be 70 yards away to protect their hearing and babies shouldn’t be there at all.

Because You Love Live Music

Who doesn’t? Summer is the greatest time for some of the best musicians come out to play. The World Health Association states that a billion teens are at risk for hearing loss from music whether it is coming from ear-buds, a parade or a favorite band playing on stage.

Any person exposed to loud music faces the same possible consequence, but time is a factor when it comes to live music. A sound at 100 decibels, which is typical level for live shows, becomes dangerous after just 15 minutes. Most of the time a live concert is much longer than that.

And Lets not Forget About the Crowds

Crowds are the most underestimated hearing danger at celebrations. At a good event, there will be people on all sides of you shouting to talk over everyone else. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association claims that crowd noise at sports games ranges between 80 to 90 decibels. Unfortunately, it will probably be higher and more consistent at a celebration or parade.

A Small Amount of Common Sense Goes a Long Way

What can you do to take care of your ears? It’s a lot more common sense than you may realize. Start by assessing your hearing risk at the event:

  • Will there be loud music?
  • Large crowds?
  • Fireworks?

You can make some useful choices based on what you expect from the celebration. If there is loud music or crowds, plan on wearing ear protection. If you still want to hear whats going on, but at a safe level, you should consider trying foam earplugs.

If there is a fireworks show, take the family back to a safe distance. The nature of fireworks means you can enjoy them without being in the front row. Plan on watching from at least a block or two away. It can also be more enjoyable to be a little further back where the crowds are less.

Hearing Damage is not the Only Risk of the Summer

Noise is only one of several concerns. Hot sun, not enough water, excessive drinking, and fatigue also can be a concern. If you have tinnitus or suffer from hearing loss these things will make them worse.

Remember to celebrate in moderation. If the celebration is going to last all day and into the night, maybe start later. Bring lots of water with you to prevent dehydration and if you are drinking alcohol, do it in moderation. Getting out of the heat for short periods is essential. Is there a shady spot around? Can you get access to an air-conditioned building?

Celebrations come and go but your ears are a one time deal. Do what you must to keep them safe while still enjoying the good times. If you are worried that you may have already suffered hearing damage it is important to make an appointment with a hearing care specialist.