Hearing Damage and the 4th of July

Audiology Services of Middletown Warns Against Hearing Injuries, Urges Use of Ear Protection during 4th of July Celebrations and Loud Summer Activities

Audiology Services is joining the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) in urging people to use sound judgment and ear plugs in celebrating the 4th of July, America’s noisiest day of the year. The single bang of a firecracker at close range can permanently damage hearing in an instant. Loudness is measured in decibels, with silence measuring at approximately 20 dB sound pressure level (SPL). Any noise above 85 dB SPL is considered unsafe. Most firecrackers produce sounds starting at 125 dB SPL–presenting the risk of irreversible ear damage.

Given recent research on the effects of recreational noise on hearing health, Audiology Services and BHI also are encouraging people to protect their hearing when participating in other loud, summertime activities, including concerts, stock car races, the use of lawn mowers and power equipment, shooting practice, power boating, and when listening to MP3 players and other electronic devices with earbuds and headphones.

Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Ten million Americans have already suffered irreversible hearing damage from noise; and 30 million are exposed to dangerous noise levels each day. Children are most vulnerable.

"Noise-induced hearing loss can be life-changing, but it also is highly preventable,” says Dr. Dana Nolen, Audiologist at Audiology Services. “That’s why this 4th of July we are raising awareness within Middletown and surrounding communities of the risk that fireworks pose to hearing. And we are encouraging people to both leave the fireworks to the professionals and to use earplugs when attending fireworks celebrations.”

Disposable ear plugs, made of foam or silicone, are typically available at local pharmacies, hunting goods stores and the power tool section of hardware stores. They are practical because you still can hear music and the conversation of those around you when you have them in your ears. But when they fit snuggly, they’re effective in adequately blocking out dangerously loud sounds. Close to 40 percent of hearing loss is preventable with proper protection."

Audiology Services also reminds the Middletown community that regular hearing checks are critically important for detecting hearing loss early and for getting appropriate treatment in order to minimize the negative impact that unaddressed hearing loss can have on quality-of- life. A confidential online hearing check is available on line (www.clarkaudiology.com) for people to assess if they need a more comprehensive hearing test by an audiologist.

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