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Boom! How Loud Are Fireworks, Really?

We all know that fireworks are loud. But have you ever wondered just how loud they get, and why it’s so important to prioritise safety around those explosive displays? Let’s dive into the science of sound and understand the impact of fireworks.

Understanding Decibels (dB)

Loudness is measured in decibels (dB). Here’s a quick guide to put fireworks into perspective:

  • 0 dB: The faintest sound a human ear can detect.
  • 30 dB: A quiet whisper.
  • 60 dB: Normal conversation.
  • 100 dB: A running lawnmower.
  • 120 dB: Rock concert, close to the speakers. This is where noise starts causing pain and potential hearing damage.
  • 150-175 dB : The range of most fireworks.

So, How Loud Are Fireworks?

  • Fountains and Smaller Fireworks: These often fall in the 150 dB range, about as loud as a jet take-off from 25 meters away.
  • Rockets and Large Displays: These can easily hit the 170 dB+ mark, louder than a gunshot!

Why It Matters: Protecting Your Hearing

The UK sets a legal noise limit of 120 dB for consumer fireworks. However, even brief exposure to sounds above that threshold can cause discomfort and potential hearing damage. Prolonged exposure to loud fireworks without ear protection puts your ears at risk.

Safety Tips

  • Enjoy from a Distance: The farther you are, the better! Always follow the recommended safety distances for the fireworks you’re using.
  • Use Earplugs: Especially for children or those with sensitive hearing, earplugs provide a crucial layer of protection.
  • Be Considerate: If you’re having a home display, let neighbors know in advance, especially those with pets or young children. Try to finish your display by a reasonable hour.
  • Low-noise Fireworks: If you’re concerned about the noise impact, look for fireworks labelled as “quieter” or “low-noise”.

Enjoy Fireworks Responsibly

Fireworks are a thrilling sight, but it’s important to be aware of their impact. By prioritizing safety and understanding the potential risks, we can all enjoy these spectacular displays while protecting our hearing.

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