July 4th celebrations endanger hearing.

Position:YOUR LIFE - Brief Article

Americans love to celebrate July 4 with firecrackers, music, and marching bands, but too much noise pollution may lead to a loss of hearing, points out a Ball State University, Muncie, Ind., audiologist. "I don't think people realize how much loud noise they are exposed to during all the Fourth of July activities," says David Coffin, professor of speech pathology and audiology. "We have loud music playing, use lawn mowers, listen to marching bands, and light firecrackers. It is not a good time for our ears."

Sounds louder than 80 decibels are considered potentially dangerous, but the noise created by fireworks, traffic, and lawn mowers ranges between 90-140 decibels. "Most people will suffer a loss of hearing after being exposed to high levels of noise pollution over a period of time. But, in some cases, it may only take one exposure to cause permanent damage."

Coffin lists several warning signs of hazardous noise: You must raise your voice to be heard and are unable to hear someone two feet away. Speech around you sounds muffled during or after leaving a...

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