Tomorrow is the 4th of July. It is a day of celebrating our nation’s independence. Our nation’s independence allows for so many things in our lives including freedom, family, work, religion, and much more. At times I find myself taking advantage of my independence and taking it for granted as well. I see my patients that due to physical or other ailments are not allowed to have their same independence as they once had. When I see that occur, it always brings me back to finding gratitude in my freedom.
The 4th of July is celebrated differently across the nation and varies from person to person. People may be at lakes enjoying the summer weather and gathering with family and friends. Others may be having a neighborhood or family barbeque. My family always had the Vetter 4th of July family reunion on Vetterville in North Dakota. While it is abnormally large and traditions only family members understand, it was a way for family to gather and reflect on what our nation’s independence means to us. One tradition that many people will gather for is fireworks at night. From the Macy’s fireworks in New York City to family fireworks at our family farm, we can expect the night sky to be bright but also the sound to be loud. Fireworks are great and I love watching them. The history of fireworks dates back to the 7th century in China. Fireworks were invented to help commemorate and celebrate different festivals. This is why fireworks are so appropriate for the 4th of July! While beautiful, we often hear stories of the physical dangers of fireworks yet the noise exposure and potential hearing loss that can result from these are often times left out. Fireworks are loud and can cause hearing damage. Though many people do not listen to fireworks for hours the instantaneous sound from a firework can be up to 145-150dB. Wear hearing protection particularly if you are the one lighting the fireworks! Some of my friends are new parents and have repeatedly asked me what hearing protection can be used for infants. This article has many different types available and explains the pros and cons. Most baby hearing protection are readily available online or at baby stores. There is no better time to start educating people about hearing protection so starting as an infant is great! So while you are enjoying time off from work, catching up with friends and family, or enjoying a good small town parade, remember to practice safety while enjoying those fireworks! Happy 4th of July everyone!