- Issue Time
- Jan 12,2024
Every Spring Festival, almost every family will set off fireworks, which can increase the lively festive atmosphere
During the Spring Festival, many families set off fireworks to enhance the festive atmosphere. However, this practice can lead to air pollution and safety hazards. It is important to note that setting off firecrackers poses a particular risk to children and pregnant women due to the loud noise they produce.
What is the decibel level of fireworks?
Before discussing the impact of fireworks on your baby's hearing, it is important to understand the loudness of these noises. Experiments conducted by the reporter have shown that the noise level of firecrackers, as shown in the figure below, can exceed 100 decibels.
At a distance of 10 meters from the lit firecrackers, the sound reaches 102.8 dB.
At 20 meters, the measured noise is 101.1 dB.
To test the noise level, go to the nearest resident's house to the firecrackers and close the door. The noise level is still 98.7 dB.
The authoritative organization ASHA provides concise and professional data on the volume levels of common sound sources in daily life.
For example, 150 dB is equivalent to fireworks about 1 meter high, 140dB to a gun or jet engine, 130 dB to a jackhammer, and 120 dB to an aircraft take-off or alarm.
These are all extremely loud.
110 dB is equivalent to the sound produced by some MP3 players, planes, and chainsaws.
106 dB is the sound produced by a lawn mower or snow remover.
100 dB is the sound produced by a hand drill or pneumatic drill.
90 dB is the sound produced by a passing motorcycle or subway, which is very loud.
80-90 dB is the sound produced by a hair dryer, kitchen mixer, or food processor.
70 dB is the sound produced by busy traffic, a vacuum cleaner, or an alarm clock, which is moderate.
For example, talking, dishwashers, and dry cleaners produce around 60 dB of noise, while moderate rain produces around 50 dB.
The noise levels of various sounds can be measured in decibels (dB).
A quiet room produces around 40 dB, and a whisper or quiet library produces around 30 dB.
It is worth noting that Chinese journalists and professional institutions in the United States consider the noise level of fireworks to be more serious, often exceeding 100 decibels. In the Chinese journalists' experiment, the sound of fireworks and firecrackers reached 98.7 decibels inside a house with closed doors and windows.
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Can noise harm babies and fetuses?
Sound is detected through a series of nerve conduction processes. One crucial component is the delicate 'hair cells' in the inner ear that respond to sound waves. While some effects may be temporary and hair cell regeneration can occur after a few days of rest, more severe effects can be irreversible. Exposure to noise can damage these cells, leading to hearing loss or even deafness. While some effects may be temporary and hair cell regeneration can occur after a few days of rest, more severe effects can be irreversible. Babies and fetuses are more vulnerable to noise than adults.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has reviewed the impact of noise on fetuses and newborns in their report 'Noise: A Hazard for the Fetus and Newborn'. AAP believes that long-term exposure to a noisy environment may lead to premature delivery, fetal birth weight loss, and fetal hearing loss in high frequency for the fetus. For newborns, noise may cause cochlear injury, and for premature infants, it may also affect development.
In other words, AAP clearly believes that noise is harmful to the fetus and baby. Often, this harm is gradual and subtle. Initially, one may simply perceive the sound as being too loud and not a serious issue. However, by the time hearing loss is detected, the damage has already been done. Additionally, we must be particularly mindful of the harm that noise can cause to individuals. This is especially important to consider for infants, who are unable to communicate the effects of noise exposure.
Safe noise levels
The harm caused by noise is determined by both its intensity and duration. Therefore, when discussing the safety of noise, it is important to consider both factors. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, newborns should not be exposed to ambient noise levels exceeding 45 decibels at any time. There is currently no accurate data available regarding the effects of noise on children. However, a simple standard for judging harmful noise is whether someone can hear you clearly when you speak at a normal volume in a noisy environment. If not, the background noise is already harmful. In general, an environment with a noise level exceeding 60 dB is considered harmful.
The American Hearing Research Foundation (AHRF) has compiled statistics on the noise tolerance of adults. It is believed that in a 90 dB environment, adults can stay up to 8 hours a day. In a 100 dB environment, adults can spend up to 2 hours a day. At 115 decibels, adults should spend no more than 15 minutes a day. For children, the recommended exposure limits are much stricter.
As previously mentioned, even if the noise is heard from inside the home, the noise level of outdoor firecrackers is typically between 100-150 dB, which can cause hearing damage to babies in as little as 15-30 minutes. For babies, the noise of firecrackers during the Spring Festival can be a significant issue. If fireworks are not prohibited in your area, it is important to be mindful of this.
In fact, preventing noise is difficult. There are three main ways:
To reduce noise:
1. Use anti-noise ear muffs. Many products of this kind are available for children's sound insulation.
2. It is especially necessary to use them during the New Year holidays in Chinese families.
Keep away from noise sources as much as possible. In addition to avoiding fireworks in places where they are prohibited, it is also important to prevent excessive noise from toys in daily life. This is especially important because babies often play with toys for extended periods of time, and domestic toys can produce very loud sounds that can damage their hearing.
Many newborns in big cities already undergo this important screening. It is recommended that every newborn baby undergo this screening at least once. Hearing screening for newborn babies is highly recommended, especially for families with hereditary hearing problems.