This 4th of July, doctors are warning residents of a condition called tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, which some can experience after fireworks. According to the American Tinnitus Association, nearly 50 million Americans suffer from it. It’s one of the most common health conditions in the country, with nearly 15 percent of the general public experiencing some form.
Sounds that are loud like fireworks create an excessive amount of sound that damages the ear because of the sound waves. What can you do to restore hearing once you’ve been exposed to the sound of a bang or explosion like being too close to loud fireworks? Unfortunately, nothing, the damage is done. That is why prevention is the key. There are ongoing studies to treat tinnitus and recommend wearing ear muffs or plugs to protect your ears.
If you are especially sensitive to loud sounds, plenty of small tips exist that you can take with you over the 4th of July.
- Consider giving yourself a break at some points during a celebration. If the fireworks show is long, think about stepping inside briefly to reduce noise even further.
- For any loud events or noisier parts of your evening, you may not want hearing aids left on. You could turn them off during any fireworks shows. If you’d rather leave them on, that’s fine as long as you are comfortable with the sound.
- It’s important to keep the noise level at a healthy decibel range to avoid further damage, and exposure to excessively loud noise damages your hearing. Know how loud is too loud. Any sound that reaches 85 decibels or higher has the possibility of damaging your ears at close range.
The Fourth of July in the states with its huge parades, loud traffic, celebrations, outdoor parties with live bands, platoons of motorcycles driving by, and explosives (firecrackers, fireworks) is of special concern with tinnitus and sound sensitivity. Officials recommend hearing tests for anyone who may be suffering from tinnitus.
Keep the above tips in mind to avoid this situation where possible and still have fun. For information on custom hearing protection, book an appointment with Ear, Nose and Throat Insititute today! To everyone – keep your ears (and yourselves) safe during this celebratory week. Do whatever you have to do to reduce your own stress levels – and enjoy the celebrations in the safest way possible for you!