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 be on the safe side you should see them from a distance or wear some kind of ear protection.
See how the sound level from fireworks compare to other sounds that could be around you:
- Normal conversation 60dB
- Car engine 70dB
- Pneumatic drill 100dB
- A band playing 110dB
- Legal limit of fireworks 120dB
- Aircraft take-off 180dB
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?
Experts agree that noise above 85 dB is dangerous to unprotected ears. 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. This year at Bonfire Night make sure you stand at a safe distance from the fireworks and that no one is exposed to the noise for a long period.
Before getting involved in the festivities, stop by the pharmacist or your local shop and purchase some earplugs. They can reduce the sound level from the fireworks by around 30dB. 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 noise. 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, so they and you can enjoy the night worry free.
If you or your loved ones wear hearing aids, check their devices are ready to help enjoy the occasion to the fullest. It is also 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 make sure they are fully charged if they are rechargeable.
You can also prepare your hearing aids for the fireworks before the show starts. 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, enjoying the fireworks – our ears get less blood flowing 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 too.
After a loud evening, your ears will need a bit of rest to recover from all the noise. Experts recommend that you should rest your ears for at least 16 hours after attending loud events. You can rest them for longer if you want to decrease the risk of you getting a permanent hearing loss.
So take precautions for your ears while you’re enjoying the glitz and blitz from the sky.
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