Oh, Say, Can You See (but Not Hear) Those Fireworks?
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.