MIAMI – Plenty of Americans will attend firework displays this summer. We know it's important to take precautions to be safe around fireworks, especially if handling them. The American Academy of Audiology says we also need to protect our hearing from loud noises.
The group says the greatest risk is not from the professional fireworks displays but from the fireworks people use themselves in backyards. If a firework is close to you when it explodes, you could suffer immediate and permanent hearing damage.
The inner ear has delicate hair cells which do not grow back. If noise damages the cells, the result may be forever.
Hearing loss can be due to aging and other factors, but exposure to loud noises is also a leading cause. According to the American Academy of Audiology, more than 40 million Americans have hearing loss, 10 million related to loud noise.
The group says signs of hearing loss can include:
- Hearing ringing, buzzing, or hissing noises after exposure to fireworks
- Muffled hearing
- Having to turn up volume on devices suddenly
Other signs include having trouble understanding people speaking and people telling you that you speak too loudly. If that sounds familiar, audiologists say get your hearing checked.
The American Academy of Audiology says children are especially vulnerable to hearing loss from fireworks because they get excited and want to be close to the activity, so make sure to keep kids away.