New Delhi: Avoid noisy firecrackers this Diwali, for your child`s sake. The loud noise and impact can have long lasting effect on childrens` ears, even damage their ear drums, doctors have cautioned.
"During Diwali, with continuous bursting of crackers, the noise level is very high. This can leave a lasting effect on the ears, even damaging the ear drums," says Kanwar Sen, Ear Nose Throat (ENT) consultant in the capital`s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.
"Children, excited about bursting crackers, are not prepared to defend themselves against the noise and thus become victims," he added.
Human ears can tolerate sounds of upto 80 decibels, but anything above that can cause problems.
Yash Malik, hearing consultant from capital`s leading hearing aid center Decibel Clinic, said: "Normally, sounds of 90 to 100 decibels are harmful for human ears."
"The worst kind of sound is created from the chain crackers, as they create continuous noise. Any loud cracker which bursts close to children is harmful, especially if the sound is being created continuously."
Malik added that the impact is long lasting.
"The human ear takes 12 to 24 hours to get back to normal once it is exposed to very loud sound," he said.
According to estimates, the average noise limit in the national capital during Diwali is above 100 decibels. Some firecrackers are even louder, producing sounds of more than 125 to 130 decibels.
"Though the sound may not have immediate effects, they cause problems in the long term," said Arvind C. Kacker, senior consultant with ENT Hospital Delhi, one of Asia`s largest ENT specialty hospitals.
"The ear drums are affected by sound pressure, any damage that may occur can later lead to infection and discharge from the ear, and in extreme cases even deafness," he said.
As the ear is directly connected to the brain, any infection may also reach the brain, thus making it highly dangerous, he added.
According to Sen, it also causes irritation and mental stress.
"Though it happens to adults as well, children are more prone to it. In addition, it may also affect digestion, as the stomach creates more acid when exposed to loud noises," he said.
With a long list of possible damage, experts say people need to take precaution.
Malik said: "Firstly, children should not be allowed to burst crackers alone and the kind of firecrackers they use should be strictly monitored."
"Firecrackers should not be burst close to ears, and the chain crackers which emit sound continuously should be avoided," he said.
Sen pointed out that "Just like `green trees`, children have `green ears` which are more sensitive. It`s best to cover your ears while bursting crackers."
He added that stuffing cotton wool, or ear plugs is the best way.
Kacker stressed that avoiding noisy firecrackers is the best option as it helps individual as well as society and environment.