Why would someone want quiet fireworks, you may ask? Pet owners know that cats and particularly dogs can be adversely affected by fireworks, but humans are at risk as well:
For people, loud fireworks can lead to hearing loss. The World Health Organization lists 120 decibels as the pain threshold for sound, including sharp sounds such as thunderclaps. Fireworks are louder than that.
“They’re typically above 150 decibels, and can even reach up to 170 decibels or more,” said Nathan Williams, an audiologist at Boys Town National Research Hospital in Nebraska.
Dr. Williams also sees higher traffic to his clinic after Independence Day. “We usually see a handful of people every year,” he said. “In these cases, hearing loss is more likely to be permanent.”
And Dr. Williams added that children are more vulnerable to hearing loss from fireworks because they have more sensitive hearing. So if you are going to a fireworks display this weekend, enjoy it safely and bring ear plugs for the whole family.
Thanks to Daniel Fink, M.D., a noise pollution activist in the Los Angeles area, for the link. Dr. Fink serves on the board of the American Tinnitus Association and the Health Advisory Council of Quiet Communities.
And before someone complains about having to accommodate those sensitive to noise, consider who may be at risk. As KSBY.com reports, “[t]he signs are intended for veterans with PTSD, people with autism, owners of pets, and others with noise sensitivity.”
Not sure if we would agree with his assessment of why noise is so pervasive, but this bit is dead on:
And noise isn’t simply about volume: it’s about persistence. It’s about invasiveness. Think of people who chatter away on Smart phones even as they’re out for a quiet walk along the beach or in the woods. How can you hear the waves or the birds if you’re screaming into a phone? Bits and pieces of conversations I’ve overheard are not about emergencies or even pressing matters; it’s more like, “Guess where I am? I’m at the beach/concert/top of the mountain!” Followed by selfies and postings and more calls or texts.
With all these forms of noise, it’s difficult to be in the moment. It’s even difficult to find a moment. Also, even in quiet times, people feel pressured to fill the silence with, well, something. So unaccustomed to quiet are they that they reach for their Smart phones (perhaps to play a noisy video game), or they turn on the TV, or they chatter away even when they have nothing to say. Must avoid “uncomfortable” silences, so we’ve been told.