Remember, remember to protect your hearing this November

With Bonfire Night fast approaching, it is important to be aware of how to enjoy the festivities without damaging your hearing.

Our audiology team sees far too many patients whose hearing loss has been self-inflicted. A high proportion of hearing loss cases are avoidable through primary prevention. While hearing loss can occur gradually over time, single exposure pressures as intense as a firework, can result in tinnitus, eardrum perforation and temporary or permanent hearing loss.

Although thrilling, the sound output produced by fireworks can reach up 150 to 175 decibels (dB). The World Health Organisation recommends that adults not be exposed to more than 140 decibels and 120 decibels for children.

We have put together 4 important measures that you can take to prevent damage from exposure to this level of sound when using and watching fireworks:

1 – Maintain a safe distance– The further you are from the sound, the less harmful the sound is to your ears. In terms of decibel level and hearing safety, a distance of around 500 feet will still give you a great view of any fireworks but ensures the sound pressure that can damage the tiny hair cells in the inner ear is of less risk.

2 – Quieter fireworks– All fireworks come with a noise rating, so if you are putting on your own fireworks display at home, selecting a quieter firework will not only go down well with the neighbours but will also protect your hearing too.

3 – Protect your hearing– No matter what measures you take to lessen the effects of loud noises, the most effective is going to be primary protection of your ears. Using hearing protection, such as ear plugs, decreases the intensity of sounds, and can help prevent hearing loss. Off the shelf hearing protection products can be purchased from local pharmacies and a number of online retailers, both for adults and children

4 – Know your limits– The louder the sound, the shorter the period of time before hearing loss can occur. Have you noticed ringing in your ears or perhaps a headache? Unfortunately, this could mean you may have experienced symptoms of noise induced hearing loss. It is important to be aware of your ears and move away when noise gets too much.

Some may think that considering hearing care can be an inconvenience when you are trying to enjoy yourself but taking measures of protection means that you can enjoy yourself more without being concerned about the potential risks. Any of these steps taken are steps in the right direction towards excellent hearing care which will reduce the risk of any permanent future damage.



Photos by Alexander Kagan, Yiran Yang and Arthur Chauvineau on Unsplash

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