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Dr. Claw’s Handbook For Firework Safety: Ear Protection Edition

Dr. Claw’s Handbook For Firework Safety: Ear Protection Edition

By Dr. Manus Claw, TNT

As a Doctor of Pyrotechnics and Patriotics, I entirely understand the allure of a good fireworks display. The bright lights. The beautiful colors. The hiss of the fuse and the whiz of the rocket. The grand explosion at the end. Like moths to the flame, we are drawn closer… and closer… but not too close!

While fireworks are wonderful to look at, and that big thumping bang you hear when they explode is certainly part of the fun, that bang can also be louder than an ambulance siren in your ear and can cause serious permanent damage.

Does this mean we have to stop blowing stuff up on July 4th? Of course not! But it does mean we have to blow stuff up safely. (And not blow out our eardrums.)

Here are some simple Rules of Thumb to protect your hearing this Independence Day weekend:

Use Protection

Some little earplugs can go a long way toward protecting your hearing while you enjoy the show. Cheap and easy to put in your pocket, you can pop them in and out of your ears all night,A pair of orange foam earplugs on a white background. depending on the need. For children, some snug earmuffs are recommended.

Bonus: No one will know how much you can actually hear with your earplugs in, so feel free to ignore your annoying neighbor and blame it on the earplugs later.

Watch From A Distance

While fireworks seem loud up in the sky, they are downright deafening up close. Literally. Experts at the CDC recommend keeping at least 500 feet of distance between yourself and the firework launch site.

Listen To Your Body

If you experience ringing in your ears or any sort of ear-related pain or discomfort while watching the fireworks, move to a safer distance and away from the noisy environment. If you experience any of these symptoms after leaving the noisy environment, contact an audiologist or otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor) about a possible hearing evaluation.

Bonus: No one knows if your ears hurt but you, so ear pain is also a handy excuse for getting out of lame concerts, bad movies and heated family arguments.

And the thumb-iest Rule of Thumb: If You Need To Shout, It’s Too Loud

Most of us don’t walk around with a sound level meter, so a good way to gauge whether the noise around you is too loud and could damage your hearing over time is whether you can hold a conversation with someone next to you without shouting. If not, there’s a good chance that the noise could damage your hearing over time.


NEVER try to relight faulty fireworks or “duds,” and do not pick them up with your bare hands. The most dangerous firework is an unpredictable firework, and these should be carefully doused with water where they lay, before disposal.

But Dr. Claw… I Broke The Rules

So you did. Thankfully, the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System has you covered for all firework-related injuries, big and small.

But first: if injuries are severe, call 911 immediately.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Sarasota is home to Sarasota County’s only Level II Trauma Center, where our community can find 24-hour life-saving treatment for severe injury and accident.

For non-life-threatening injuries, including minor burns, we have six Urgent Care Centers stretching from Heritage Harbor to Venice, with healthcare professionals standing by to assist you. Open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, use our Save My Spot mobile app to skip the waiting room.

For hearing-related injuries, contact the expert audiologists and ENTs at First Physicians Group Silverstein Institute.

But you can save yourself a lot of trouble by practicing good firework safety to begin with.

For more from Dr. Claw on firework safety, click here.SMH Copywriter, Phil Lederer

Written by Sarasota Memorial copywriter Philip Lederer, MA, who crafts a variety of external communications for the healthcare system. SMH’s in-house wordsmith, Lederer earned his Master’s degree in Public Administration and Political Philosophy from Morehead State University, Ky, and sometimes goes by Dr. Claw.

Posted: Jun 30, 2023,
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