A leading Galway based audiologist has warned parents of the danger of permanent hearing loss posed by illegal fireworks this Halloween, particularly by bangers which can reach the same dangerous decibel level as a gunshot.
According to Conor Mullarkey, audiologist with Hidden Hearing’s Galway branch, the hearing healthcare provider, there is real cause for concern as the noise level reached by many illegal fireworks is estimated to be between 125 and 155 decibels, far in excess of the recommended safe threshold level of 85db.
Some aerial fireworks have been recorded to exceed 120 db at more that 150m, while bangers are even more of a hearing hazard, reaching the same decibel level as a gunshot, which is approximately 140db.
“The majority of Galway parents are aware of the dangers of burns and scalds associated with illegal fireworks, but not many understand that irreversible hearing loss to their children’s hearing may occur due to exposure to the loud noises fireworks make. Noise higher than 85 db can cause serious damage to your children’s hearing and it may take only a few minutes of exposure to inflict permanent noise induced hearing loss.
“ In the last few years Hidden Hearing has seen more and more cases of young people with hearing loss issues because they have been exposed to sounds that are too loud,” said Mr Mullarkey.
“My advice to parents is that if you and your children are watching fireworks this Hallowe’en, keep a safe distance and try to keep the time you spend around the fireworks to a minimum. Wearing hearing protection such as earplugs would be another good idea. They are effective in adequately blocking out dangerously loud sounds and will also make the fireworks less scary to young children.”