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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.”

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

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Evie Polsley
Media Relations
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epolsley@lumc.edu
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