One in five American teenagers now suffer from some type of hearing loss, an increase of 31% since the mid-1990s, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. So, this July 4th, celebrate safely. Noise from exploding fireworks can top 155 decibels (dB)! If you are sitting very close to the blasts, there is potential for immediate, sudden, and permanent hearing loss. Limit your child's chances of ending up on the wrong side of this statistic by taking these preventative measures, recommended by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association:
- Sit at least 500 feet from where the fireworks are launched. Fireworks noise for spectators 800 feet away ranges from 88 to 126 dB. But from 10 feet away, it's 155 dB—louder than a military jet takeoff!
- If you notice ringing or buzzing in your ears, move farther away.
- Bring earplugs for every family member. You can find them at many drug stores or sporting goods stores for just for a few dollars or less. (For children under 7 or 8, these earplugs may be too big, so consider using child-size earmuffs. Ear protection must fit properly in order to provide protection.)
For questions related to hearing health and protection, seek the help of a certified audiologist; find one in your area at http://www.asha.org/findpro/.
About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
ASHA, www.asha.org, is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 150,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems including swallowing disorders.