Earplugs? Really?

Honestly, I have to admit this Independence Day will be the first time I have considered if my family and I should wear ear plugs.  (Brief pause for Audiologists gasping. haha)  I am a new team member at Centers for Hearing Care and I am learning an incredible amount from our fantastic staff, including that much of what I thought I knew about hearing in general is wrong! Yes, I admit it, WRONG!  There are many causes of hearing loss to which I had no idea about, as well as the effects untreated hearing loss can have on someone. Actually, I could go on and on about all the things that have amazed me since I started here, but I will save it for another blog post.

Seriously, I know fireworks are loud, but earplugs and earmuffs? Really?????

I can now tell you the research shows a resounding YES!!!!!

I used to see parents who had their children wearing earmuffs to watch fireworks and would think, “Good for them for being overly cautious! It isn’t that big of a deal though, and I’m not “THAT kind of Mom” who sweats the small stuff (especially with three kids and the youngest of these being two crazy boys)!”  Now I realize, the only nonsensical thing is that the parents weren’t protecting their ears as well!

We DON’T reach an age where our hearing is no longer affected by loud sounds and we certainly NEVER reach an age where our hearing isn’t important and greatly affecting the quality of our lives! Therefore, ear plugs and ear muffs may not be fashionable, however, if you ask me, I would definitely rather spend 20 min wearing them and being “THAT Mom” that makes her family wear them too, then the rest of my life wishing I had!

Please celebrate safely with your loved ones this holiday weekend and every day!

Below is some of the information I had no idea about….

For a point of reference, here are some common summer sounds and their decibel (dB) levels:

  • Rustling leaves: 10 dB
  • A whisper: 30 dB
  • Humming of a fridge: 40 dB
  • A conversation: 60 dB
  • Busy street traffic: 70 dB
  • Vacuum cleaner: 80 dB
  • Lawn mower: 90 dB

And now … how fireworks and other loud noises measure up:

  • Fireworks for spectators at 800 feet away: 88 to 126 dB
  • Fireworks at 3 feet away: 150 dB
  • Chainsaw: 100 dB
  • Front row of a rock concert, Maximum output of some MP3 players: 110 dB
  • Jet plane take off: 120 dB
  • Jackhammer: 130 dB
  • Motorcycles, firearms, small firearms: 120 to 150 dB

Stephanie Adams

Community Relations Coordinator