With Bonfire Night around the corner and New Year celebrations not far behind, we can expect a season of fun, festivities and of course fireworks. These colourful pyrotechnics can be amazing to watch, but they should be treated with caution and respect. Protect your hearing, and that of your loved ones, by taking some simple precautions this festive season.
Up close, the noise of a firework can easily exceed 140 decibels, which has the potential to do permanent hearing damage. When watching a fireworks display with your family, be sure to sit at a comfortable distance – at least 500 feet away – to limit your exposure to loud noises. Choose a spot where you can marvel at the lights and colours without the worry of loud explosions.
Adults and older children should protect their hearing by wearing disposable ear plugs. You can find affordable foam or silicone ear plugs at your local pharmacy; fit them snugly in your ears, and you’ll find they allow you to hear conversation and music in your nearby surroundings, while dangerously loud noises are effectively filtered out. Put these ear plugs in place before the festivities begin, and keep them in until the show has ended.
Ear plugs might not be suitable for babies and younger children, in which case child-sized ear muffs should be used. These ear muffs should fit correctly to provide adequate hearing protection. Once again, make sure these are in place before the fireworks start, and do not remove them until they have stopped.
If you’re planning your own firework display, be sure to follow the correct safety procedures. Only adults should handle the fireworks, and the noise and size should be suitable for the available space. Keep friends and family at a safe distance, and insist of appropriate hearing protection, such as ear muffs or ear plugs. Always read the instructions before lighting a firework, and ensure that you follow the correct precautions. Be sure that any bonfires or flames are safely extinguished at the end of the night.
When it comes to the health and safety of your family, prevention is always better than cure, but if any of you experience any warning signs of hearing damage, it is vital to consult your GP immediately. Signs to watch out for are pain in the ears, ringing or buzzing in the ears, or the inability to understand speech following exposure to loud noise.
Nearly 40% of hearing loss is preventable with the correct hearing protection and precautions. Follow these simple tips and make this festive season a happy, healthy and safe time for your loved ones!
Nicky Warner is a UK blogger looking forward to Bonfire Night this November. She’ll also be taking precautions to protect her hearing, and is even considering an auditory enhancement course to help her hear better than before.