Protecting Your Ears: The Deafening Truth About Fireworks and Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Hands wave American flags during a fireworks show.

Independence Day is a time for celebration, family, and friends. Many people look forward to the traditional barbecues, parades, and impressive fireworks displays, but these traditional celebrations can also have unintended effects on hearing. The noise from fireworks, in particular, can be extremely harmful to our hearing, leading to potential noise-induced hearing loss and the need for noise-induced hearing loss treatment.

Colorful fireworks light up the sky.

 

So it’s crucial to remember to protect your hearing. Injoy Hearing is passionate about helping individuals protect and enhance their hearing with our high-intensity hearing technology. Still, the best way to delay the need for hearing aids online is to be cautious around loud noises and take the proper precautions.

What is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a type of hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noise, which can damage the inner parts of the ear. NIHL can be caused by a single exposure to an extremely loud sound or by prolonged exposure to sounds at high decibel levels. This condition can cause a patient to experience more significant issues, including the telltale ringing of tinnitus and overall muffled hearing.

How Fireworks Can Contribute to Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Fireworks, especially on holidays like Independence Day, are notorious for producing loud sounds that can cause hearing damage. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), “long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 dBA [decibels] can cause hearing loss.” For a frame of reference, the NIDCD rates a normal conversation of between 60 and 70 decibels, but louder noises like a motorcycle, concert, or police sirens can clock in at 110 to 129 decibels on the high end.

A man cups his ear, white pain circles radiate from it.

 

The Effects of High Decibel Noises

Fireworks, however, tend to be much louder and can lead to hearing problems. While beautiful, these displays can produce sounds ranging from 140 to 160 decibels. This is well beyond the limit that can cause permanent hearing loss. It only takes one loud burst to cause hearing damage, which can happen instantly. This type of NIHL is called acoustic trauma, and it typically occurs when a loud sound damages the hair cells in the inner ear. These hair cells are responsible for transmitting sound to the brain. However,  when hurt, they cannot repair themselves. So a person’s hearing can be permanently affected.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Symptoms

NIHL can cause many symptoms, including tinnitus (ringing in the ears), difficulty hearing high-frequency sounds, and feeling fullness or pressure in the ears. Although these hearing loss symptoms are commonly associated with NIHL, it’s important to note that other conditions can also cause them. But should you notice any of these hearing problems shortly after listening to or watching fireworks, NIHL may be the culprit. Tinnitus can sound like a consistent ringing or buzzing in the ear. If exposure to loud sounds continues, this condition may become permanent. Patients who experience NIHL may also have difficulty hearing high-frequency sounds or feel fullness or pressure in the ears.

Therefore, getting any of these symptoms checked by a hearing health professional who can perform a thorough hearing evaluation to determine the underlying condition is crucial. The CDC also reports that NIHL can cause someone to experience communication difficulties, ear pain, distorted or muffled hearing, and an inability to hear environmental sounds a person usually can hear. If you notice any of these symptoms, take our Injoy Hearing online hearing test to accurately and conveniently evaluate your hearing!

A man inserts an ear plug.

 

How to Protect Your Hearing Around Fireworks

Protecting your hearing while participating in Independence Day celebrations and enjoying fireworks displays is essential. To prevent NIHL-caused hearing problems, such as muffled hearing, our Injoy Hearing team recommends following these tips:

  • Wear earplugs or earmuffs: Earplugs and protective earmuffs are an excellent way to reduce noise. They are available at most drugstores and can be found in both disposable and reusable forms. Wear them from before the fireworks start to the end. Viewing these displays through your home window or inside a car is also excellent.
  • Keep a safe distance: The National Safety Council recommends keeping a safe distance between yourself and lit sparklers or other fireworks. This can not only help prevent injury but also helps to reduce exposure to loud sounds from the fireworks. Avoid holding fireworks close to your ears or igniting them in enclosed spaces like garages or buildings.
  • Limit exposure time: The longer you are exposed to loud noise, the greater the risk of developing NIHL. Limit the time you spend around loud noises, and take a break from viewing fireworks if necessary to prevent long-term exposure. Remember to wear the proper protection when attending a fireworks show away from home.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Treatment

Typical noise-induced hearing loss treatment involves a combination of strategies to manage the condition and improve hearing function. Here are some common approaches:

  • Avoidance of Loud Noise: The first step in treating noise-induced hearing loss is to prevent further exposure to loud noises. This involves identifying and avoiding noisy environments or using appropriate hearing protection, such as earplugs or earmuffs when you cannot avoid noise.
  • Medical Evaluation: If you suspect noise-induced hearing loss, consult an audiologist. They will assess your hearing and conduct a thorough examination to rule out other potential causes of hearing loss.
  • Hearing Aids: Depending on the severity of your hearing loss, you may need hearing aids to improve your ability to hear and communicate. Hearing aids amplify sounds and can be customized to your specific hearing needs. They are available in various styles and technologies, including noise reduction features to enhance speech understanding in noisy environments.
  • Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs): ALDs are devices designed to help individuals with hearing loss in specific situations. These devices include personal amplifiers, TV listening systems, or telephone amplifiers, which can assist in improving hearing in particular settings.
  • Auditory Training: Auditory training programs can help individuals with noise-induced hearing loss improve their listening skills. These programs involve exercises and activities focusing on differentiating sounds, understanding speech in noisy environments, and improving overall auditory processing abilities.
  • Counseling and Support: Coping with hearing loss can be emotionally and socially challenging. Counseling and support groups can provide guidance, education, and emotional support to individuals with noise-induced hearing loss and their families. They can help adjust to the changes in communication and find strategies to improve the overall quality of life.

It’s important to remember that early intervention and seeking professional help are crucial in managing noise-induced hearing loss.

A family celebrates the 4th of July.

 

Put Your Safety First With Injoy Hearing

Independence Day is a time for celebration and fun, but it’s important to remember to protect your hearing. Fireworks and other loud sounds can cause permanent hearing damage to children and adults alike. Follow our tips above for preventing damage to your ears. If you think you may have already experienced hearing impairment, speak to a hearing health professional as soon as possible.

At Injoy Hearing, we offer a premium online experience for buying rechargeable Bluetooth hearing aids. You don’t need to leave your home to find the perfect hearing aid. Our mission is to provide advanced hearing technology that rivals in-office consultations with audio specialists. With our service, you can enjoy unlimited follow-ups and repairs. So you know that our online hearing aids are a sound investment. We guarantee the highest quality hearing aids for three years. This means convenience, reliability, and exceptional hearing experiences without ever leaving your home.

Take our online hearing test now to get a baseline of your hearing abilities and see if you need extra assistance!

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