Child with Headphoens

Swimming, playing, barbecues, and fireworks all make the fourth of July special. However, this great American tradition can cause permanent hearing damage. Whether watching a professional display or picking up some fireworks of your own, hearing loss is a real risk.

The Risks of Fireworks


Fireworks are a staple of Fourth of July and other celebrations, but their extreme volume can harm your hearing. The noise from fireworks can easily exceed 150 dB and even reach up to 175 dB. Knowing how to minimize the risk of hearing loss while enjoying the show is a must. 

It’s important to note that age plays an essential role in how fireworks affect people. Adults need to avoid exposure to noise levels of 140 dB, that threshold is lower for children (120 dB) since their ears are more sensitive and susceptible to hearing loss.


4 Ways to Preserve Your Hearing

Father and daughter watching fireworks


1. Skip the Home Displays 

Where you view your fireworks has a significant impact on your hearing. Experts suggest viewing a community display rather than setting off your fireworks at home. Fireworks can be dangerous, but professional displays usually have a roped off area for safe viewing (and listening) distance away from the show. 

2. Have Ear Plugs and Ear Muffs Available 

Whether you decide on going to a local display or lighting your fireworks, protect your hearing and that of your children. Inexpensive foam earplugs can be found at many local drugstores and pharmacies. These work well for adults; earmuffs are better for small children. 

Audiologist and child hearing test


3. Keep Safe Distance 

The further away from the sound, the less harmful it is to you. Therefore, your distance from the fireworks display can make a high impact in terms of decibel levels and hearing safety. Around 500 feet will give you both a great view and keep you far enough back that the sound pressure won’t damage the hair cells in the inner ear. 

4. Best Fireworks to Buy and Avoid 

If you are planning your own fireworks display, you can customize your selection for less noise. All fireworks come with a “Noise Level Rating,” so purchasing quieter fireworks will preserve a good relationship with your neighbors and protect your hearing. 

Some of these quieter options include: 

  • Fountains 
  • Wheels
  • Falling leaves and comets
  • Sparklers 

These are all designed to look great and have very little to no noise. If you purchase fireworks, your fireworks provider should be able to show you the lower noise rating pieces. 

Make sure to Avoid mines, rockets, mortars, and any other fireworks that have many blasts strung together. These displays are designed to make as much noise as possible and can be very damaging to your hearing. 

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss 

According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 30 million people in the U.S. are at risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Exposure to loud noises such as fireworks can result in: 

If you think you have and degree of hearing loss after attending a fireworks display. We highly recommend you give us a call and see one of our hearing care professionals. Don’t let the “oohs” and “ahhs” turn into “ows” for your ears.

Now that you know how to protect your hearing during this Fourth of July, effectively go out, have fun, and enjoy fireworks displays for years.