It is July 4th weekend, a time of celebration and loud fireworks. Attending a live fireworks show is a challenge if you have small children or a loved one with sound sensitivities. I remember those years well. It took me a few years to learn what you need to attend a firework show.
I have a daughter who graduated with a degree in performance violin. When she was young, her hearing was definitely sensitive. Since she was my first, there was much for me to learn. Remember, this was before the internet age.
Attending a Firework Show as a Parent
When my daughter was an infant, she slept through our first Fourth of July celebrations. My favorite Fourth of July location was anywhere a full symphony performed before and during the fireworks show. Of course, she loved the music. When the fireworks started, she pressed her ear against my heart and insisted I cover her other ear. That was my first lesson. I should have known as she disliked flushing toilets and hand dryers. I was more prepared the next year. As a side note, the tips below are equally helpful during air shows.
What You Need to Attend a Firework Show
Here are a few tips I learned over the years that helped my family enjoy 4th of July celebrations.
1. Pack ear protection, a jacket, a hat, blanket, trash bag, and/or a stroller.
Ear protection like Mack’s Waxable ear molds work great for children and teens. They are very comfortable to wear because they block your ear canal instead of going in your ear canal.
For younger children and toddlers, over-the-ear noise-canceling earmuffs work great. They are adjustable and will fit for many years and once your little one experiences the comfort they bring while attending a firework show, they generally leave them on their head.
2. If there are festivities, enjoy them ahead of time.
My family always enjoyed the live music at our local Fourth of July Celebration. There were also vendors and many different activities to enjoy at the park. Enjoying the festivities prior to the firework show helped everyone stay awake for the show, but also sit still to enjoy it.
3. Find a Friendly Spot to Watch the Show
If possible, figure out the best place for your family to watch the fireworks from a distance. The more distance between you and the launch area provides sound relief. Remember that sound is both heard and felt. The vibrations of the fireworks if sitting up close can be uncomfortable if someone in your family has sound sensitivities. Here are some of the places we have used over the years:
- A field far enough away from trees to see the sky
- The top of a parking garage
- A couple of streets away (look for where others are watching away from festivities)
- Near a large body of water (bay, river, ocean)
Family Memories Attending Firework Shows
While our children were growing up, we lived close to the beach. I was so happy to learn that fireworks are shot off a barge. Thus, they are so far away we never had to worry about their loudness. The view was amazing. The breeze off the ocean gets cold at nightfall. If you enjoyed playing in the ocean, make sure everyone changes into dry clothes. We even needed jackets.
Sound is Heard and Felt
Did you know that sound stimulates your sensory system in 2 ways? Sound stimulates your bones, especially your skull bones. Then, sound travels along your skull bones to your ear (cochlea). At the same time, sound travels through your ear canal to your eardrum, and through your middle ear to cochlea?
Here are some ideas of how to reduce the loudness of fireworks for you and your loved ones:
- Allow little ones to nestle in your arms where they feel safe and have a choice to bury an ear against you.
- Offer a stroller with a blanket. Extend the roof all the way out so the stroller acts like a wall. If needed, a child will sit sideways and press the blanket against their ear.
- Wearing a hat or hoodie