Ottawa is fortunate to celebrate so many wonderful events throughout the year. Many of which we celebrate with the use of fireworks as the celebrations come to an end. Consequently, participating in these events and celebrating statutory holidays with family and friends is always fun, however ensuring you protect your ears is important for firework lovers.
Did you know impulse noises such as firearms or fireworks can cause immediate damage to your hearing? Fireworks can be just as loud as gunshots ranging from 120-160 dB which can lead to immediate damage. This is far beyond the recommended noise limit of 85 dB.
Protect your Ears
It’s important to be prepared with appropriate hearing protection. The use of earmuffs or earplugs is recommended when you plan on being exposed to loud noise environments for long periods of time.
If you are a current hearing aid wearer and are planning on watching the fireworks remember to turn down or turn off your hearing aids. In addition, you can also wear earmuffs for extra protection.
Safe Noise Exposure Times
The following chart shows the amount of time it is safe to be in an environment without doing some irreversible damage to your hearing system.
Restaurant – 85dB – 8 hours
Band Rehearsal – 90dB – 2 hours
Power Tools – 100dB – 15 minutes
iPod at high volume – 105dB – 5 minutes
Sports Stadium – 108dB – 3 minutes
Chainsaw – 110dB – 1.5 minutes
Ambulance Siren – 120dB – 9 seconds
Fireworks & Firearms – 120-160dB – immediate damage possible.
Rest and Reset
After an evening of loud noise exposure, it is recommended that you rest your ears and allow them to reset. Tinnitus is a common symptom after loud noise exposure which can range from mild to severe bouts of ringing in the ears. Hearing health professionals recommend a minimum of 16 hours after loud events. Ideally, relaxing in a quiet environment for longer is ideal to reduce the risk of permanent hearing loss.
Mark event’s in your calendar with a reminder to pack proper hearing protection!
New Years Eve (December 31st)
Victoria Day (May 20)
St. Jean Baptiste Day (June 24)
Canada Day (July 1)
Ottawa’s Sound of Light Firework Display (August 10-24th)
Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival Fireworks Show (August 31st)
Adapted from Widex’s Blog: New Year for your Ears