How to Protect Your Hearing This Kentucky Derby Season

fireworks on the Ohio River with Louisville skyline and bridge in the background

It’s Derby season in the Bluegrass State, and Thunder Over Louisville is going to shine bright over our old Kentucky home.

While it’s easy to get caught up in the fun of Derby season, it’s important to keep your health and safety in mind. Firework shows are best known for their glamorous lights and patterns but also the loud bursts and booms that often irritate or harm our ears.

Loud noises can damage hearing temporarily and permanently in people of all ages, not just children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of earplugs or earmuffs to protect your hearing during loud events like concerts or firework shows. This protective layer guards the delicate hair cells found within our inner ears that help us hear.


Because of their small ear canals, sounds are much louder to children and infants than they are to adults. They are also more likely to be impacted by high levels of pressure and are at a higher risk of experiencing hearing damage or loss. Doctors recommend the use of earmuff headphones on children, seeing as ear plugs may not fit in their ears and present a potential choking hazard.

While you can hear the “roar” of Thunder Over Louisville from miles away, you should still try your best to stay away from the harsh sounds. The farther you are from the display, the safer it is for your hearing, and the view is just as great!

If you experience any loss of hearing, pain, discomfort or ringing in your ears after the event, you may need to consult your provider. If you are concerned about your hearing or have questions, contact your primary care provider for more information.

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Article by: UofL Health

UofL Health is a fully integrated regional academic health system with eight hospitals, four medical centers, Brown Cancer Center, Eye Institute, nearly 200 physician practice locations, and more than 1,000 providers in Louisville and the surrounding counties, including southern Indiana. Additional access to UofL Health is provided through a partnership with Carroll County Memorial Hospital. With more than 13,000 team members – physicians, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists and other highly-skilled health care professionals, UofL Health is focused on one mission: to transform the health of communities we serve through compassionate, innovative, patient-centered care.

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