Think about your ears before having your own Bonfire Night

Reading Time: 5 minutes
by
10/30/2019
With the UK currently in lockdown and firework displays cancelled, are you thinking of having your own bonfire night? If so, we wanted to share our 4 top safety tips to protect you and your loved ones hearing.

How loud are they?
Firecrackers, booms and bangs are all part of celebrating Bonfire Night. But did you know that exploding fireworks can easily exceed 120 decibels (dB), which is far beyond the safe sound level of 85 dB. Being too close to fireworks can result in a temporary or permanent hearing loss, so to keep you and your children safe, you should see them from a distance or wear some kind of ear protection.

See how the sound levels from fireworks compare to other sounds that could be around you:
- Normal conversation 60dB1
- Washing machine 70dB1
- Motorcyle 95dB1
- Sporting events 100dB1
- Legal limit of fireworks 120dB2
- Aircraft take-off 180dB3

As you can see the legal limit of fireworks is high up on the list and not far from the same level of sound as from an aircraft taking off. Did you know that fireworks are also as loud as a gunshot?

1) Use earmuffs or earplugs
Experts agree that noise above 85 dB is dangerous to unprotected ears1. The louder the sound, the higher the risk of hearing loss.  

That’s why we think it is important to take care of our ears and loved ones’ ears. If decide to have a fireworks night of your own make sure you and you family stand at a safe distance from the fireworks and that no one is exposed to loud noises for a long period. 
 
Before you kick off your fireworks, maybe stop by the pharmacist or your local shop and purchase some earplugs. They can reduce the sound level from the fireworks by around 30dB4. It’s a quick and effective way to protect your ears. 
 
Keep in mind that if it’s too loud for you, it will certainly be too loud for children. In fact, childrens’ ears are more sensitive and less tolerant of noise5. Hearing loss can have a huge impact on children and can affect their cognitive development, so it would be a good idea to be prepared and give them some earmuffs. That way, they and you can enjoy the night in your garden worry free.

2) Hearing aids are affected by the cold
If you or your loved ones wear hearing aids, check their devices are ready to help enjoy the occasion to the fullest. It is worth knowing that some manufactures battery life can be shorter in cold temperatures, so it would be a good idea to bring spare batteries, or if they are rechargeable make sure they are fully charged. 

You can also prepare your hearing aids before you light your first firework. Depending on your hearing aid device you can choose to turn on a noise reduction program or simply go for a lower sound level. If you are looking for extra protection you could always combine your hearing aids with earmuffs, protecting your ears from all the noise whilst keeping them nice and warm. Or you could simply turn your hearing aids off!

If you are not a hearing aid user, being outside in the cold weather, our ears get less blood flow to them. This increases the risk of ear infections, so it would make sense to keep them wrapped up with ear warmers or earmuffs. In fact, keep all of your body warm; catching a cold can temporarily increase hearing loss too6.

3) Give you ears a rest
After a loud evening, your ears will need a bit of rest to recover. Experts recommend that you should rest your ears for at least 16 hours after attending loud events7. You can rest them for longer if you want to decrease the risk of you getting a permanent hearing loss. 

4) Look after yourself
It is also extremely important that you adhere to recommended safety protocols when setting off your own firework and don't forget to take precautions for your ears while you’re enjoying the glitz and blitz from the sky.

Feel like you may have a hearing loss?
Take an online hearing test now. It only takes 5 minutes and you will get an immediate indication that you may have a hearing loss. This however, will not give you full certainly of your hearing health, you would need to book a free hearing test with one of our expert audiologists to know whether you have a loss or not.

safe-test-iconAll clinics remain open
With National lockdowns impacting England and Wales, and local lockdowns in place in Scotland, we wanted to let you know that as an essential healthcare provider, all Hidden Hearing clinics will remain open, in all towns. We have full health and safety measures in place, to protect our customers and staff from the threat of COVID-19, whilst at the same time helping you with all of your hearing health needs. So if you need an appointment or have one booked, we look forward to seeing you. If however you are choosing to stay at home, we can still visit you there.

 

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Sources:
1: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/hearing_loss/what_noises_cause_hearing_loss
2: https://www.northampton.gov.uk/info/200075/pollution/1096/noise-pollution---fireworks
3: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/aircrew/noise
4: https://global.widex.com/en/blog/new-year-for-your-ears
5: https://www.torbayandsouthdevon.nhs.uk/uploads/25390.pdf
6: https://www.complete-hearing.com/2017-11-9-hearing-loss-during-cold-flu-season
7: https://www.healthpartners.com/blog/lose-your-hearing-at-a-vikings-game

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