Are Fireworks Safe?

You can use fireworks safely, but they do pose a risk to your hearing if used improperly. This is because fireworks can be as loud as 150 decibels. For context, noises above 120 decibels can cause immediate damage to your ears, and sounds at or below 70 decibels are considered safe
Loud noise from fireworks, if you don't take the proper precautions, can damage cells and membranes in the cochlea and/or damage the auditory nerve. This can result in hearing loss, which may be temporary or permanent.

How Can Fireworks Cause Hearing Loss?

Both fireworks and firecrackers can cause noise-induced hearing loss. Fireworks are an impulse noise, which is a sound characterised by a sharp and brief increase in decibel volume. If you're too close to impulse noise, it can damage your inner ear and cause hearing loss.

It's important to note that, unfortunately, inner ear damage is generally irreversible. That's why it's crucial to use fireworks safely and follow these five tips.

1. Remain at a Safe Distance

The closer you are to the fireworks, the greater the risk of permanent hearing loss and inner ear damage. That's why WorkSafe Tasmania advises that spectator areas be 100 metres from where aerial fireworks are launched or where debris could realistically land. 
If possible, try to reach the launch site ahead of time to determine where you can sit safely while still being able to see the fireworks.

2. Wear Ear Protection

Ear plugs and ear muffs can help prevent noise-induced hearing loss, and not just at fireworks shows. If you really want to make your hearing health a priority, you can also wear them to concerts and sports events, while working outside, or at your workplace if noise is an issue. Children are vulnerable to noise-induced hearing loss too, so parents may want to bring ear protection for their little ones.

3. Understand Your Limits

Even if you think you're at a safe distance from a firework display, don't hesitate to move further away. If you start to feel uncomfortable with the noise, don't force yourself to sit through it. Your discomfort may be a sign that the sound is too much for your ears to handle without sustaining some damage.  

4. Look Out for Warning Signs

Hearing loss from fireworks isn't always immediate. Sometimes there are early signs that your inner ear is being damaged. Probably the most recognisable sign is ringing in your ears. If after a fireworks show you experience ringing, temporary hearing loss, or have trouble hearing people, that's a sign that the proper precautions weren't taken.

5. Turn Off Your Hearing Aids

One of the most effective ways to protect your hearing from fireworks is to turn off your hearing aids before the fireworks go off. Hearing aids help to pick up and amplify environmental sounds, which is typically a good thing, but for instances like this, turning them off is a good idea. 

Always Prioritise Your Hearing Health

Making your hearing health a priority is a great New Year's resolution! Start the new year off right by taking your first step towards better hearing. Contact us to book a hearing test today.