URBANDALE, Iowa — The sight of fireworks is a cherished Fourth of July tradition. However, hearing and seeing these explosions are two different things.
Audiologists at Woodard Hearing Center, Dr. Amanda Gerst, said the sound of fireworks can cause major damage to your ears. Unlike other cells, hearing cells do not repair themselves.
The World Health Organization has listed the maximum sound peak pressure level for adults at 160 and 120 for kids. Dr. Gerst said the average firework has a 170-decibel level.
To enjoy fireworks without risking permanent damage, Dr. Gerst suggests standing between 75 and 100 feet away from the explosion and using an ear protectant. Different options are foam dams, ear muffs, or custom earplugs.
Dr. Gerst advises wearing ear protection at other summer events with loud noises as well.
“Especially after the last year we’ve had, people are wanting to get out and do more things with family and really have a good celebration,” Dr. Gerst said. “We can do those celebrations, but we don’t need to do them in ways that are gonna be damaging to us down the road.”