Summer is a time to run around, play, and have fun outdoors, but as the 4th of July approaches, it’s important to understand when fireworks can damage hearing. Fireworks are fun, but not always safe for kids. Dr. Maithilee Menezes, Otolaryngologist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, warns against exposure to close-up, large, and loud explosions of fireworks. Close proximity can cause permanent hearing damage almost immediately. With any really loud noises, hearing protection is encouraged to prevent damage. Fireworks at fairs or festivals are usually far enough away and should not affect your child’s hearing. As a general safety tip, kids should not set off fireworks without adult supervision.