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You may be a redneck if ... your lifetime goal is to own a fireworks stand.

-- Comedian Jeff Foxworthy

Thursday is the Fourth of July, a time to celebrate our nation's birthday. Good times will be had, grills will be smoking, and the bangs, pops and crackles of fireworks will fill the air.

But while the lights and sounds are meant to be enjoyable, to many it can be terrifying.

In some people, the brain has trouble organizing and responding to information from the senses. That's according to information I found on Understood.org, a support, information and resources website for parents with children who have learning and attention problems.

In children there are normally two types of sensory processing challenges. One is over-sensitivity or hypersensitivity, which usually leads to their avoiding sensory input because it is overwhelming.

The other is under-sensitivity or hyposensitivity, which causes the person to seek more sensory stimulation. Some children may experience a combination of both, depending on the situation and environment.

It makes sense that people with sensory problems could find fireworks painful. There are sudden noises and brightly colored patterns, mixed with flashes of light and darkness, along with and boisterous crowds. It's the perfect storm.

People who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder can also be affected by the loud bangs and flashing lights. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, up to 20% of those who served in Afghanistan or Iraq and up to 30% of Vietnam veterans have PTSD.

According to the website of Boys Town Hospital (boystownhospital.org), fireworks, whether in your driveway or watching a public display, can cause hearing damage. There are two things to note when considering whether or not fireworks have the potential for hearing loss -- distance from the sound source and the loudness of the firework. Children should always be situated farther away from the peak sound area and they recommend that infants not be exposed to fireworks at all.

Exposure can result in:

• Tinnitus, a ringing in the ears that can be a symptom of hearing loss.

• Temporary threshold shift, a slight decrease in hearing, which usually lasts only about 24 hours.

• Permanent hearing loss, which is, as the name says, permanent.

Two options they suggest are ear plugs or headphones, whichever works best for your situation.

DIABETIC HEARING LOSS

For people with diabetes, hearing loss can be a complication along with nerve damage, heart disease and eye problems.

In an article on the website of Everyday Health (everydayhealth.com), Dr. Kashif M. Munir from the University of Maryland Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology in Baltimore, states "Diabetes affects the small blood vessels in the ear, just as it affects blood vessels throughout the body."

It is challenging to figure out the correlation between diabetes and hearing loss because often people with type 2 diabetes and hearing loss tend to be older. And it happens gradually so the loss could have begun years earlier.

According to the American Diabetes Association and American Academy of Audiology, signs of hearing loss include:

• Frequently thinking other people are mumbling.

• Often having to ask people to repeat what they've just said.

• Turning up the volume past the level comfortable for others around you.

• Difficulty following a conversation.

• Frequently buzzing, ringing or a rushing sound in your ears.

• Difficulty hearing people who are not facing you.

• Difficulty hearing in a loud environment, such as a restaurant.

They suggest controlling your blood sugar, eating more healthfully and protecting against noise with earplugs or ear coverings if you will be in a loud environment.

Don't put things in your ears, turn down the volume and avoid ototoxic medications that include everything from anti-depression drugs and antibiotics to blood pressure medications and diuretics.

If in doubt, talk to your doctor and get your hearing checked.

Email me at:

rboggs@arkansasonline.com

ActiveStyle on 07/01/2019

Print Headline: Fireworks no celebration for some kids

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