Diwali: Hearing loss is a real risk! Follow these 3 tips to protect your ears

When you think of Diwali, the first thing that comes to mind is the firecrackers, which cause air and noise pollution. So, here are tips to protect your ears.
how to reduce ear pain
Firecrackers can be a pain in the ears. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Sheetal Radia Updated: 26 Oct 2022, 13:52 pm IST
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Fireworks are usually the first thing that spring to mind when you think about Diwali. However, hearing loss is a genuine concern whether you are attending a professional fireworks display or lighting off your own pyrotechnics. These thunderous firework bursts might be as loud as 175 decibels (dB) or more (sound above 150 dB have the potential of causing life-threatening issues). So, here we’re recommending a few best tips to protect your ears from noise pollution during Diwali.

How noise pollution during Diwali can affect ears?

The World Health Organization (WHO) advises a maximum safe decibel level of 140 for adults and 120 for children when it comes to fireworks. While sound above 150 dB is dangerous, sound above 170-200 can cause lethal issues like pulmonary embolism or even burst lungs. An infant’s ear canal is significantly smaller than an older child’s or an adult’s. Therefore the sound pressure entering the ear is higher. Infants, especially, shouldn’t be exposed to fireworks at all. A newborn may hear noises up to 20 decibels louder than they might an adult. And during Diwali, bursting firecrackers can damage your ears.

How do you know that ears are exposed to extremely loud noise and therefore they need attention?

Take precautions to preserve your hearing during Diwali because exposure to loud sound might cause hearing loss.

tips to protect ears
Loud noise can also lead to headache. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here are symptoms that something is wrong with your ears:

* Hearing loss/decreased hearing
* Tinnitus
* Ear blockage feeling
* Severe earache

A confirmation can be done by Pure Tone Audiometry (a behavioral test used to measure hearing sensitivity). The sensorineural hearing loss is checked via audiometry tests.

How can you protect your ears from noise pollution?

1. Safe distance from noise

One method is to keep a safe distance away from the fireworks show. Your distance from the sound of the fireworks may make a huge impact in terms of decibel level and hearing safety since the less damaging the sound is to your ears the further you are from it. You can still see the fireworks quite well from a distance of around 500 feet, but the inner ear’s small hair cells won’t be harmed by the loud noise.

Also read: 5 skincare tips to ace your Diwali look this festive season

2. Choose firecrackers (if at all) with lesser sound

Selecting less louder fireworks will not only safeguard your hearing, but will also help you maintain good relations with your neighbours! All pyrotechnics have a noise rating. Comets, wheels, fountains, and falling leaves are examples of quieter fireworks. They don’t sound absolutely quiet, but they whistle and crackle rather than making a loud, explosive boom.

tips to protect ears
It’s better if you choose to not burn crackers. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Earplugs

Avoid using fireworks, mines, and rockets. These fireworks are intended to make as much noise as they can. Earmuffs, which are essentially foam-filled cups that cover the ears, are preferable for young children and adults to block the sound. Inexpensive foam earplugs are available in drugstores and pharmacies and work well for everyone.

Also read: Firecrackers on Diwali: Here are 5 convincing reasons why you must avoid them

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Consult a hearing care specialist if you believe you have a noise-induced hearing loss as a result of attending firework displays. And don’t worry, with the above-mentioned suggestions you can guard your hearing from the eardrum-shattering bangs that won’t stop you from enjoying yourself during Diwali!

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About the Author

Dr Sheetal Radia, Consultant Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Oncosurgery, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road, Mumbai ...Read More

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