Parents, beware! Holiday fireworks can damage kids’ hearing

David Kirkwood
June 29, 2012

ROCKVILLE, MD–With an eye to the upcoming Fourth of July celebrations, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) issued an advisory this week to Americans everywhere to protect their hearing from exposure to Independence Day’s traditional fireworks displays.

ASHA warned that the noise from exploding fireworks can reach 155 dB– louder than a military jet taking off. As a result, spectators anywhere close to where the pyrotechnics are set off run the risk of suffering sudden and possibly permanent hearing loss.

The 150,000-member association of audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and hearing and speech scientists specifically urged parents to take the following measures to protect their children:

• Sit at least 500 feet from where the fireworks are launched. Fireworks noise for those 800 feet away ranges from 88 to 126 dB. But from 10 feet away, it’s 155 dB!

• 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 a few dollars or less. (These plugs may be too big or children under age 7 or 8, so for younger ears consider child-size earmuffs. Ear protection must fit properly to work.)

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