Independence Day is an opportunity for Americans to express their patriotism and enjoy the sunshine, picnics, parades, and swimming pools. But people celebrating the holiday in Lexington and throughout the United States are at risk of damaging their hearing if they aren’t careful. Be sure to take steps in order to protect your hearing, and you’ll be assured of having a safe holiday celebration.
Beware of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Noise-induced hearing loss is the biggest danger over the 4th of July. Exposure to sounds that exceed 85 decibels can cause permanent damage to your hearing. The louder the sound, the quicker damage can occur; typical Lexington traffic measures about 85 dB, giving you roughly eight hours of safe exposure. Rock ‘n roll concerts, which measure around 140 dB – higher if there’s a guitar virtuoso showing off his mad axe skills – can cause instant hearing loss if you aren’t careful.
Independence Day Hearing Dangers
Fireworks are by far the biggest hazard you’ll encounter on Independence Day. As awe-inspiring as they are to look at, they produce decibel levels as high as 150 to 175 dB – enough to cause immediate, permanent hearing loss. The best way to preserve your hearing and ensure a safe holiday is to leave the fireworks to the experts. The further away you are, the better; the minimum safe distance, according to experts, is 30 yards. If you’re a budding pyromaniac who insists on lighting your own fireworks, at least make sure you are wearing adequate hearing protection. Your best bet is a pair of custom earplugs made from molds of your ear canals; these adhere to the unique contours of your ears, providing a snug fit and excellent protection. Be sure your kids are wearing hearing protection, as well – young ears are even more susceptible to hearing loss. Better still, keep them inside, away from the action.
The 4th of July poses other hearing hazards, as well. Loud music from parades, marching bands, and live concerts can also cause hearing damage. Who knew “Yankee Doodle Dandy” was so dangerous? Again, make sure you protect your ears with earplugs.
Not every hazard involves noise. Many people take to the water in order to beat the July heat, going for a swim in a lake, stream, or pool. As refreshing as the cool water might feel, you are at risk of a painful infection called swimmer’s ear if you aren’t careful. To reduce your risk of developing swimmer’s ear, avoid swimming in bodies of water where bacterial counts are high (warning signs are usually posted). Swimmer’s plugs can be worn; these keep water out of your ears. Always dry your ears thoroughly after swimming, and never insert foreign objects into your ears. Yes, this includes Q-tips.
Just because Independence Day carries hearing risks doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the holiday! Contact your Lexington audiologist today for more tips on protecting your hearing for the holiday – and the rest of the summer.