Boys Town Institute Offers Warnings About Fireworks and Hearing Loss

Boys Town Ear, Nose and Throat Institute warns parents to be particularly cautious when shooting fireworks this fourth of July due to a risk of hearing damage.

Boys Town, Neb. (PRWEB) June 21, 2013

Whether you are shooting fireworks in your drive-way or watching a public display, you could be at risk of having some hearing damage.

How Fireworks Affect Hearing

Fireworks produce a sound output that is in the 150 to 175 decibel range.

There are two things to note when considering whether or not fireworks will have the potential to cause hearing loss:

  •     First is the distance a person is from the sound source. Similar to a ripple from a stone being thrown into the water diminishes further and further away from the splash, sound is less likely to affect your hearing the further you are positioned from the firework explosion.
  •     The second thing to consider is how loud the firework actually is. The World Health Organization recommends that adults not be exposed to more than 140 decibels of peak sound pressure. For children, the recommendation is 120 decibels. If you are dealing with a firework that explodes at 170 decibels, you would have to stand 15 to 20 meters away before you are at a safe limit.
Children would have to stand 50 to 60 meters away from that same firework. Infants should not be exposed to fireworks, because they generally experience the greatest amount of sound pressure.

“You can think about watering trees,” said Nathan Williams, AuD., Audiologist at Boys Town Ear, Nose and Throat Institute. “When you put your thumb over the mouth of the hose, the diameter of the opening is smaller and the pressure of the water is greater. The diameter of a child’s ear canal is smaller, and thus the sound pressure built up in a child’s ear canal is great, resulting in a perceived louder sound by the child. ”

Exposure to louds 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 24 hours.
  •     Permanent hearing loss – a change in hearing that is permanent and cannot be restored.

Protect Your Ears
Roll down foam ear plugs or headphones that sit over top of the ear can offer some protection against the loud noise. If you will be setting off fireworks or are watching nearby, both roll-down foam plugs and headphones are strongly recommended for maximum hearing protection.

If a person suspects that they have had a change in hearing, a hearing test is advised. This is done so that if changes have occurred, the doctor can determine if it is a temporary or permanent hearing loss.

Although fireworks are exciting, it is important to realize they can be dangerous to your hearing. With the right precautions you and your family and friends can enjoy a happy and safe Fourth of July.

Please view our video Fireworks Can Lead to Hearing Loss.

About Boys Town
Boys Town is a beacon of hope for America’s children and families through its life-changing youth care and health care programs across the United States. Now more than 90 years strong, Boys Town’s Continuum of Child and Family Services aims to provide the right services at the right time based on a child’s or family’s needs. In 2012, Boys Town’s integrated continuum of youth care and health care programs impacted more than 500,000 children and families across America. This includes those who received services from Boys Town’s traditional programs as well as those served by the many varied programs which comprise the Boys Town Continuum of Child and Family Services, including In-Home Family Services, health care services provided by Boys Town National Research Hospital and the Boys Town National Hotline.


Contact

Follow us on: Contact's Facebook Contact's Twitter Contact's LinkedIn