OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Do you ever notice how loud fireworks can be? Believe it or not, fireworks can produce noise at 170 decibels, which is 30 decibels above the recommended peak sound pressure for adults and 50 decibels above the recommended peak sound pressure for children, according to the World Health Organization. The Boys Town Ear, Nose, and Throat Institute is offering some tips for protecting your family, and your hearing, this Fourth of July.
- The pressure of impact noises such as fireworks can cause immediate physical damage to unprotected ears. The Institute recommends to sit farther away from where the noises occur. Adults should be approximately 50 to 65 feet away from exploding fireworks to stay below the recommended sound pressure. That distance increases to 175 feet to 200 feet for children. Infants should not be exposed to noise from fireworks as they experience the greatest amount of sound pressure.
- There are two types of hearing protectors available, and both can be purchased from a drugstore or sporting goods store. Roll down foam plugs can go in the ear, and headphones sit over the top of the ear. Headphones tend to offer a little more protection. If you are setting fireworks off, double up with both ear plugs and headphones.
Exposure to loud sounds can result in the following
- Tinnitus - ringing in the ears, which can be a symptom of hearing loss.
- Temporary threshold shift - slight decrease in hearing, which usually only lasts one day.
- Permanent hearing loss