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Fireworks are beloved by many for their bright, stunning colours, but one downfall of them is their loudness. The loud sounds accompanying the colourful explosions can cause long-lasting hearing loss, allied finance Patient.info reports. Here’s how to protect yourself.
The potential ear damage leading to hearing loss can be caused by a single loud sound that you are too close to.
This includes bangs and whizzes made by loud fireworks and firecrackers.
Hearing loss induced by noise can be temporary or permanent.
That’s why it’s “important” to take necessary measures to protect your hearing and reduce your risk, Patient.info advises.
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Loud noise above 120 decibels (dB) can cause immediate harm to your ears, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
The legal UK noise limit for a fireworks display is 120 dB.
However, healthcare experts believe it could be possible that long or repeated exposure to sounds above 85 dB can also lead to hearing loss.
The health forum also warns that many fireworks displays exceed the limit, reaching 160 dB.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain the longer you are exposed to a loud noise without ear protection, the greater is the risk of hearing loss.
At the level of 120 dB, it can take only seven seconds to potentially develop permanent hearing damage.
Hearing loss caused by fireworks can affect one or both ears. It can also happen immediately or be gradual.
Here are some of the signs of ear damage to look out for:
- Immediate and noticeable loss of hearing
- Severe pain
- Struggling to hear sounds that were previously clearer
- No longer being able to use a phone in one or both of your ears
- A persistent ringing or buzzing sound in your ears
- A temporary loss of hearing that disappears 16 to 48 hours later.
You might not be able to tell that you’ve damaged your hearing at the time, but experience trouble hearing in the future instead, reminds Patient.info.
How to protect yourself?
The health portal suggests several ear protection measures you can take to reduce the risk of potential damage from Bonfire Night.
Maintain a distance of at least 15-20 metres away from loud fireworks. For children, the distance should be greater around 50-60 metres as their ears are more vulnerable to hearing damage.
Opt for ear protection, including ear plugs, ear muffs and noise-cancelling headphones, because they can help lower your risk of hearing loss when worn correctly.
In case you find yourself close to a fireworks display without any ear protection, use your fingers to plug your ears and try to move away.
If you are planning to create your own display, you might want to consider purchasing noiseless fireworks.
It takes around 16 hours for ears to recover, so if you have been exposed to very loud noises, make sure to protect your ears from any further damage.
If you think you are experiencing any kind of hearing loss, consult your GP for further advice.
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