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When you think of the New Year, one of the first things that comes to mind may be fireworks. After a day full of fun activities and food, many people will soon head to the fireworks display. However, whether you are watching a professional firework show or buying your own fireworks, hearing loss is a real risk.

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, approximately 15% of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 suffer from hearing loss, which may be caused by exposure to noise. Taking simple steps to protect the hearing of all family members can prevent potential lifelong consequences.

The risk of hearing loss caused by fireworks depends not only on the loudness level (in decibels) of the sound, but also on the length of time someone is exposed to noise: 8 hours can withstand 90 decibels; 95 decibels for 4 hours; 100 decibels, only two Hours.

According to data from the American Academy of Audiology, the noise level generated by fireworks can reach more than 140 decibels. Exposure to such high noise levels is not only harmful, but earaches are dangerous for both children and adults. Babies should not be exposed to fireworks at all; babies’ ear canals are much smaller than those of older children or adults, so the sound pressure entering the ears is greater. Sounds that may not be so loud for adults actually sound 20 decibels louder for babies.

These hearing protection tips can help the whole family prevent long-term damage:

Keep a safe distance: The noise generated by a firework explosion can be as high as 155 decibels. If you are close to the explosion site, the risk of immediate, sudden and permanent hearing loss is greater. Maintain a healthy distance (at least 500 feet) from fireworks, speaker systems, and other noise sources.

Wear earplugs: Earplugs are a cheap and simple way to protect your hearing in noisy events. Make sure your earbuds fit snugly. For children under the age of seven or eight, please use earmuffs.

Know your limits: The louder the sound, the shorter the time for hearing loss to occur. A good rule of thumb is to avoid too loud, too close, or too long. If you notice ringing or humming in your ears, stay away from the noise source.

Know the warning signs: Hearing loss caused by noise usually does not happen immediately, but over time. Early signs of damage include hearing ringing or buzzing in your ears, not being able to hear people at close range, and temporary hearing loss.