The 4th of July marks Independence Day in the United States, and millions of Americans celebrate by enjoying fireworks and setting of firecrackers. However, these miniature explosions can be extremely dangerous for your hearing.
A firecracker can reach up to 150 decibels which can cause instantaneous and irreversible damage to your hearing. It is on par with a gunshot and even louder than a Jet Engine! Damage caused by a single firecracker can case Distortion to your hearing, Hyperacusis, and even Deafness.
1. Distortion - This is your ear's inability to transfer sound cleanly to your brain. Even with amplification to overcome the hearing loss sustained by a firecracker, if too many Inner Hair Cells (IHCs) are damaged, it is impossible to receive clarity from hearing aids.
2. Hyperacusis - This is an oversensitivity to normal sounds. This can create an issue where you have trouble hearing, but if you amplify sound it becomes painful. This is a nasty condition that is very difficult to treat effectively, and sometimes it is impossible to treat.
3. Deafness - All it takes is 1 firecracker to render you deaf. The explosion can be so loud that it can destroy all of the structural components of your ear and make it so you can't perceive sound. If this happens to only one ear, you can treat it using a CROS device or Bone Anchored Hearing Aid. If it happens to both ears, you may have to receive surgery to get a Cochlear Implant.
Protecting yourself from the noise generated by firecrackers is easy. Just wear hearing protection. At a bare minimum, stick your fingers in your ears. You'll be glad you did.