Hearing Protection

Celebrate Safely and Plan Ahead So That Fireworks and Other Loud Noises Do Not Cause Permanent Damage 


As the Fourth of July holiday draws near and the planning of celebrations begin, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) reminds the public of the importance of protecting one’s hearing from loud noises, especially fireworks.

Although hearing loss is often believed to be an issue that progresses over time, it can also be caused by an instantaneous loud noise. Hearing loss due to exposure to intense sounds has become more prevalent in today’s society. Approximately 15% of Americans ages 20-69 have hearing loss that may have been caused by exposure to noise. Taking simple steps to protect the hearing of all family members can prevent potentially lifelong consequences.

ASHA offers these hearing protection tips this Fourth of July:

  • Keep a safe distance. Noise from exploding fireworks can reach as high as 155 decibels, and if you are located close to the blasts, there is greater risk for immediate, sudden, and permanent hearing loss. Maintain a healthy distance (at least 500 feet) from fireworks, fire crackers, speaker systems, and other sources of loud noise.
  • Wear earplugs. Ear plugs are an inexpensive and easy way to protect your hearing during loud events. Make sure your ear plugs fit snugly. For children under 7 or 8 years old, use ear muffs.
  • Know your limits. Sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter the time period before hearing loss can occur. Various phone applications can measure sound, but a good rule of thumb is to avoid noises that are “too loud” and “too close” or that last “too long.” If you notice ringing or buzzing in your ears, move farther away from the noise source.
  • Seek professional help. If you feel that your hearing may have been affected.



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