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Fireworks can suddenly and permanently damage hearing

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan.  -- Summer can be lazy, crazy, hazy and noisy. Some types of noise can hurt your hearing over time. Others, like blasts from fireworks, can immediately damage it.

One blast can be 150 decibels. That's in the painful range for ears if you're within a few feet. There can be sudden and permanent hearing loss.

"People don't realize how quickly and permanently the hearing can change by one simple brief exposure," said Dr. Dana Jacobson of Associated Audiologists.

She says try to keep yourself and your kids at least 500 feet from fireworks. Wear earplugs. Those who have much exposure may want the custom-made type.

Most of us can get by with inexpensive foam plugs sold at most pharmacies. But you have to insert them correctly. Roll them down to a very small size and insert deep into the ear canal. The foam expands to create a good seal.

The audiologist says if you think you've suffered hearing loss from a blast, get tested within a week.

"There are some effective treatments if your hearing does change, and they would be coordinated with your physician," said Dr. Jacobson.

With other sounds of summer, sustained exposure can result in hearing loss. Lawn mowing is one common way people lose hearing.

"I used to mow grass for a living. So four or five years of that will impact your hearing," said Tim Thacker as he took a break from mowing his yard. "I'm constantly making my fiance' repeat herself," he added.

That's why Dr. Jacobson says you should always wear earplugs when mowing. Don't listen to music on headphones while doing it.

"You're really doubling the exposure you're getting," said the audiologist.

That increases the chances you'll need hearing aids.

Dr. Jacobson also reminds you to wear earplugs at those summer concerts. She was pleased to see earplugs for sale at a recent concert at Starlight Theatre.

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3 comments

  • June

    Fireworks will do more than damage hearing. I was in the E.R. when I saw a 15 year old boy and his distraught mother. The boy had severely damaged his eye with the fireworks and will probably lose the sight in that eye. Playing with fireworks needs adult supervision at all times. I worry about all the kids who will be injured again this year. My prayers are for that injured boy.

    • jyrki laitinen

      I was in Mexico and they had awfull fireworks every day and night, I tired to find eaplugs- and muffs, but did not find in 2-mlj inhabitants city. At 40-years old the mosts them will need hearingaid, but who will pay?