Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Don't forget to protect your baby's ears at the Fourth of July fireworks display

MAYWOOD, Ill. (July 2, 2014) – You’ve packed the sunscreen and bug spray to protect your little ones while enjoying a Fourth of July celebration, but many parents don’t think about the potential damage that loud fireworks can do to a young child’s ears.

“Fireworks can be harmful to a child’s ears. It is rare, but I have seen problems such as hearing loss and a tympanic membrane perforation,” said Laura Swibel Rosenthal, MD,  a surgeon with the Pediatric Otolaryngology department at Loyola University Health System and assistant professor in the departments of Otolarynology and Pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

The noise from fireworks can reach 130-190 decibels. According to the World Health Organization, children should not be exposed to anything more than 140 decibels. One of best ways to protect a child’s hearing is to view them at a distance, Swibel Rosenthal said.

“The farther away you are, the less impact the fireworks will have on a child’s hearing. Sit at least 500 feet away from where the fireworks are launched. Also, consider purchasing noise reduction headphones, which can help protect a child’s hearing,” Swibel Rosenthal said.

Though most of the injuries she’s seen have resolved on their own, she warned parents to be cautious about the risk and to think about their own hearing safety as well.

“The mild hearing loss is usually temporary and eardrum perforations often heal on their own. Still, surgery is sometimes required,” Swibel Rosenthal said. “Loud noises like fireworks are dangerous for adults as well as kids. Exposure to loud sounds over time can have a cumulative effect on hearing so protect your kids’ ears to keep them hearing in the future.”

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located on a 61-acre campus in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH), on a 36-acre campus in Melrose Park, and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. At the heart of LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that houses the Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, a burn center, a children's hospital, Loyola Outpatient Center, and Loyola Oral Health Center. The campus also is home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. The GMH campus includes a 254-licensed-bed community hospital, a Professional Office Building with 150 private practice clinics, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 22 states from coast to coast with 93 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities — that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.