ASHA calls for hearing protection on July 4
ROCKVILLE, Maryland., June 28, 2021 / PRNewswire / – As Americans prepare for Independence Day, the American Association for Speech-Language Pathology and Hearing (ASHA) encourages the public to incorporate hearing protection into their celebrations. This is especially important for people who opt for smaller home gatherings which may include fireworks or firecrackers.
Sale of fireworks to the general public in 2020 greatly exceeded those of previous years, possibly due to the stay-at-home circumstances forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of injured, too, has eclipsed those of previous years. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 16% of fireworks injuries are the head, face and ears. Yet hearing protection is largely overlooked in advice to the public on vacation safety, much of which focuses on obvious physical injuries such as burns.
“We absolutely want people to take advantage of their The 4th of July after a tough year, but we don’t want anyone waking up the next day with permanent hearing loss or ringing in their ears, ”said ASHA President A. Lynn Williams, PhD, CCC-SLP. “While ASHA always encourages vigilance during public fireworks, the risk to hearing is especially pronounced for those celebrating at home, who will likely be much closer to the fireworks launch site. than they would be at a big event. ”
A single loud bang or explosion that lasts less than a second can immediately lead to permanent hearing loss. This noise, called impulsive noise or impact noise, can come from sources such as fireworks or gunshots. Impulse noise is measured in decibels of peak pressure, or dBP. Impulsive noise above 140 dBP will immediately damage a person’s hearing. Fireworks at 3 feet, as well as firecrackers, can measure 150 dBP. This is considered painful to the ears and is well beyond a safe listening level (75-80 decibels).
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is completely preventable. However, once it occurs, it is irreversible. Exposure to noisy leisure activities is a leading cause of NIHL in young adults, according to the World Health Organization, which states that 1.1 billion people aged 12 to 35 around the world are at risk. Despite this, a recent ASHA survey of American adults shows that nearly half (49%) of those surveyed said they did not take any basic protective measures when it came to their hearing.
Advice on hearing protection
By taking a few simple precautionary measures, Americans can protect themselves and their families. ASHA advises the following:
- Use hearing protection. Basic earplugs provide good protection for most teens and adults. It is generally better for children to wear well-fitting earmuffs instead of earplugs.
- Keep a safe distance. Stay at least 500 feet from sources of noise, such as a fireworks launch site. The closer you are, the more likely you are to injure your ears.
- Know your limits. If you experience ringing in the ears or any other hearing discomfort, quit the loud situation. Listen to your body!
“I encourage the public to purchase a few pairs of earplugs when they run out of barbecue supplies,” adds ASHA President Williams. “Most drugstores or supermarkets carry them, and they are inexpensive and extremely effective in protecting hearing.”
For anyone who may have pain or ringing in their ears, or who have difficulty hearing, after The 4th of July or any noisy event, ASHA recommends contacting a certified audiologist for a hearing assessment. Learn more about www.asha.org/public.
About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA is the national professional, scientific and accreditation association of 218,000 members and affiliated audiologists; speech therapists; speech, language and hearing specialists; support staff in audiology and speech-language pathology; and students. Audiologists specialize in the prevention and assessment of hearing and balance disorders as well as the provision of audiological treatments, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders. http://www.asha.org/
CONTACT: Francine Pierson, 301-296-8715, [email protected]
SOURCE American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)