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How to protect your ears when at a firework display

You want to protect your hearing on the 4th of July.

These days, many people are using earplugs to protect their hearing from the noise of fireworks. They’re very useful, and can even be used when listening to music, watching movies, or reading books.

If you’re sensitive to loud noises, earplugs may be a good idea. They can even help block out ambient noise, as well as sounds from fireworks and other loud events.

If you need to know more about this, then keep reading!

Fireworks and Hearing

It’s the Fourth of July. If you live in an area with fireworks displays, you may already be dreading the coming days, as it’s just a matter of time until your ears start ringing like crazy.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help protect your hearing from the noise of fireworks.

If you’re sensitive to loud noises, a simple solution is using earplugs. If not, wearing earmuff headphones may work just as well and they have the added benefit of blocking out other ambient noise in addition to fireworks sounds.

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Why do fireworks hurt my ears?

If you’re wondering why fireworks hurt your ears, it’s probably because of how loud they are. This is a result of the different sounds they produce as well as the fact that their sounds travel to your eardrum at different strengths.

Fireworks make a noise because of the combustion process, which is how fireworks work. Combustion involves three phases: ignition, burning, and spent firework. The most recent phase of the process results in the bulk of the sound produced by fireworks—a loud crackling noise that can hurt your ears.

While it’s no surprise to hear that fireworks can cause damage to your ears, you might not have been aware of exactly how loud they are.

What is the decibel level of fireworks?

150dB, which is LOUD Fireworks, on average, are between 130 and 170 decibels—which is equivalent to a plane taking off, or the sound of a jackhammer at full throttle. This decibel level causes a loud ringing in your ears called the Tinnitus effect.

How do fireworks cause my hearing damage?

When you expose your ear to excessive noise, the hearing cells are damaged by the excessive noise. When this occurs, they become damaged beyond repair—resulting in a permanent damage to your ears. This damages are known as Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL).

Part of this process is not only due to how loud fireworks are, but also how quickly they’re being produced. The amount of time it takes for each firework to reach you and sound off is referred to as the “sound pressure level or SPL.

How can I protect my kids ears from fireworks?

Hearing protection is a must if you’re going to be around fireworks. A useful option is earmuffs, which are made specifically to protect hearing from loud noises. Other options include electronic earmuff headphones, which also include a lower volume limiter for added protection. Basically, earmuffs protect your ears from the noise of fireworks while headphone protection helps avoid noise in general.

Are fireworks too loud for toddlers?

No, but use toddler sized earmuffs, If they do not wear these then do not go. The loud noises can cause tinnitus for them growing up, and can possibly become a condition later in life. It causes permanent hearing damage and is often mistaken for a ringing sound coming from the ears.

Why are some fireworks louder than others?

The bigger the explosion, the more noise it makes. Bigger explosions produce larger shockwaves resulting in a loud sound.

What is the duration of fireworks?

A typical fireworks show lasts from 15 to 30 minutes. What you hear will vary depending on how different areas of your city are decorated and what time it is in your location.

What should I do if I feel my ears ringing?

If you feel ringing coming in, stop what you are doing and head for a quiet place away from loud noises as soon as possible. It is usually best to continue with your holiday activities if you can, but simply avoid loud noises at all costs (like fireworks).

Things NOT to do when watching fireworks

There are several thing not to do with your ears when you attend a fireworks display:


The effects of alcohol can make you feel dizzy, which may affect your balance and make you fall. It can also cause ringing in the ears, along with nausea.

Fooling Around

Even if you may feel invincible, it is not safe to drink and play with fireworks. You may lose your hearing and/or get hurt.

Highly excited kids

Kids who are overly excited and have little self-control may not be able to control their reactions while watching fireworks. If they watch them in person, they may start crying, throw items, or get into fights with someone else.

Don't stand to close 

If you are standing close to the fireworks it can cause some damage.

Remember to always use common sense and look out for your friends and family, as well as the safety of your kids.

Getting The Right Ear Protectors When watching/using fireworks

If you are planning on using fireworks or going to watch fireworks at a location you don’t know, here are some tips to make sure your hearing is safe with earmuffs


Comfort is one of the top priorities when you are looking for earmuffs to wear while shooting fireworks. When looking for a pair of muffs, make sure it is not too tight or loose. You should be able to move your head around without feeling that the earmuff is going to fall off. It also needs to fit your head comfortably with no pressure points felt after wearing them for a period of time.

Earbuds are great for blocking out external noise because they come with cushions on the ears. However, it is not the best solution since they won’t protect your ears from noises such as firework explosions and might even cause more damage in the process.


Durability is also a big deal when it comes to earmuffs. You want to be able to wear the muffs for a long time without any issues occurring. Also, make sure that the earmuffs are made of durable materials such as metal and are not made of foam. No matter how good an earmuff is for blocking out external noises with its cushions, if it is not made from a durable material, it might break or tear after being used many times over the years.


Safety is a major concern while using earmuffs. Make sure that the earmuffs are able to fit well around your ears and they also shouldn’t cause any pain in your ears when worn for long periods of time.


Size is also a key factor when looking for the right earmuffs. You should make sure that the muffs you are going to buy fit your head well and they will cover both of your ears completely. They should cover your entire ear so they can protect them from any harm caused by explosions.


Cost is also something that should be taken into account when looking for the best earmuffs to wear while shooting fireworks. Make sure that you are able to find a pair of muffs that will not break the bank, but provide you with the same level of quality and comfort.

Firework Hearing Loss Caused By 3 Things

The common reasons why fireworks  get hearing loss are:

Decibel Level * Distance * Time

1) Decibel Level

Decibel Level : The noise level of a firework is measured in Decibel and the number refers to how loud the sound is. People are usually exposed to loud fireworks noise for short period of time, while gun shots last for a longer period of time, but not as long as fireworks.

2) Distance

Distance (in feet) refers to how far you are from the source of the sound. The further you are from the firework, the quieter it sounds. People tend to use only a few fireworks outdoors. So, if you are not too close to the fireworks, then there isn't much harm done. However, people tend to have closer view of fireworks in parks and other big public areas which can cause damage to hearing.

3) Time

The time span during which noise is being heard makes a huge impact towards hearing loss. Longer sound exposure causes more damage than short exposure times when it comes to loud noises.


Purchasing ear protection for barbecues and fireworks is something that is not very well understood to the public. The majority of people do not realize the dangers of using unsafe practices if they believe that ear protection is only used for concerts or in loud environments such as at construction sites

To avoid hearing loss from listening to music, you should never exceed the safe noise levels. Also, when listening to music with good quality headphones, you should turn your volume down low enough so that you can not hear the sound of a pin drop.

By following the advice given in this article you can now protect your ears as well as ensuring a great view of the fireworks!

Please Note: Just because an ear defender is marked, for example, "Gunshot" - it will still cover other things, like "explosions"

CHAMPS Kids Ear Muffs Earmuff Noise Protection Reduction Headphones for Toddlers Kid Children Teen...
  • DESIGNED FOR EAR PROTECTION:This child earmuff is specially designed to reduce noise and protect children's ears. It has passed CE and ANSI certification to reach 25dB NNR. It can effectively eliminate harmful sounds, protect the ears, provide excellent noise reduction effects, and protect the ears from harm.
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Peltor Sport Tri-Flange Corded Reusable Earplugs, 26 Db Nrr, 3-Pair Per Pack
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High Fidelity Concert Earplugs, Reusable Musicians Ear Plugs, 24dB Advanced Filter Technology Ear...
  • ADVANCED FILTER TECHNOLOGY reduces noise (up to 24dB,NRR)evenly to maintain the full spectrum of sound while protecting hearing. Mumba concert earplugs deliver crisp, clear sound at a safe volume. Won’t muffle music or voices as foam plugs do. Suitable for Concerts, Musicians, Drummer, Percussion, DJs
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Last update on 2023-11-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Other Questions

What are the dos and don'ts for fireworks?

Always read the instructions on each firework. Follow these instructions carefully and never alter the amount of gunpowder in a firework.

  • Always light them at arm's length and wear protective glasses when lighting them or when they are about to go off.
  • Always light them in a clear plastic bucket of water (this will stop any debris flying if there is an explosion).
  • Never let children light fireworks unsupervised or even assist with lighting them – this should be done by an adult only.
  • Do not put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.

What if someone is injured?

Call the emergency services immediately or ask someone to do so (dial 911 in the USA). Stay with the patient until help arrives. Try to find out what caused the injury and say if you think more than one person may be injured or if there is large-scale damage to vehicles and property.

Fireworks are often used to celebrate national holidays such as the Fourth of July or New Year's Eve. There are two types of fireworks - aerial, which are propelled into the air and then exploded, and ground-based mortars that explode on contact with the ground.

Children may be tempted to handle fireworks because they look like toys while they’re still unlit. However, fireworks can cause serious injury when handled improperly. For example, a large firework could contain black powder that explodes when lit by flame from a matchstick or another open source of ignition. This can cause an explosion that sends pieces in all directions at high speeds and sets off other nearby explosives.


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Nick Le Page

Experience : Hi, I am Nick, and I have suffered with ear problems my whole life, mainly tinnitus. I have tried a lot of products to help protect my ears over this period, and several devices to block out the constant ringing

“Are you having problems hearing? If so, those around you already know it. Hearing loss is no laughing matter, so don’t be a punchline.”

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