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NEW YEAR’S YEAR’S BOTTLE: danger of acoustic trauma

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The year 2017 is now drawing to a close and we are about to say goodbye as we look forward to a new year. This holiday season, traditions take center stage: dinner parties, gifts, markets and more enliven our days. Among them, however, is a spectacular custom that is widely spread around the world and keeps millions of people’s noses in the air each year. We are talking, of course, about fireworks. It is an unfailing “ritual” with which we bid farewell to the old year and prepare for the coming one. Unfortunately, however, more and more citizens are trying their hand at this “art” in a manner that is reckless, illegal and almost always dangerous to their own and others’ safety.

There is, of course, a necessary premise to be made. This article exclusively condemns individuals who abuse fireworks, firecrackers and any other explosives without, however, having the proper permits to do so and without possessing the skills to ensure an entertaining but, above all, safe show.

Mind your eardrums

After every New Year’s Eve, unfortunately, as we learn from TV, newspapers and the Internet, the number of people injured by firecrackers is always very high, and deaths also often occur due to the violent and uncontrolled “clandestine” explosions. But the most widespread danger for those who try their hand, without the proper skills, at putting on a fireworks display is acoustic trauma. In fact, even a single bang exploded at close range can cause significant damage to the auditory system, such as tinnitus and, at worst, hearing loss. In fact, according to Professor Gaetano Paludetti, director of the department of otolaryngology at Policlinico Gemelli in Rome, “A firecracker explosion can also lead to perforation of the eardrum.” And it is a risk not related to the age of the subject in fact “when it comes to the tympanic membrane and more generally to the ear adults and children run the same dangers: acoustic sensorineural trauma can cause permanent damage.”

This is a risk that it would be better not to take especially because “hearing loss is not curable,” Prof. Paludetti later added, “one can protect the ear from further damage, but when the injury is there it remains. For this reason, the use of firecrackers, explosives and any other type of New Year’s Eve “bangers” is absolutely prohibited, which could prove to be highly dangerous to the safety of those using them and those in close proximity. For this reason, again this year, as has been the case for many years, law enforcement controls will be increasingly scrupulous to prevent the occurrence of illegal explosions and avoid injuries or casualties.

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