The signs are everywhere. From the neighbor’s yard, where a giant inflatable ghost has loomed since mid-September to the grocery store aisles laden with bags of sweet treats, we can’t deny Halloween is just around the corner. Soon, neighborhoods across the country will be crisscrossed by gangs of witches, zombies, princesses and a host of other creative and spooky characters. But Halloween isn’t just for kids anymore; adults have co-opted the celebration and love to get in on the fun as well.
The reality is that whether or not you have hearing loss, Halloween brings particular safety concerns that everyone, child or adult, needs to be aware of. Staying mindful of these Halloween safety tips can ensure that you can have a healthy, safe and enjoyable night, and that your only regret will be the number of miniature Snickers bars you consumed.
Check the noise levels
Amplification systems have become more advanced in recent years, and the host, DJ or band at the Halloween party is likely to crank up the music volume to generate more excitement and energy. Unfortunately, 15 percent of those between the ages of 20 and 69 will experience noise-induced hearing loss from leisure time activities, and that includes loud music in clubs or at parties. Many of us know about the dangers of candles, careless drivers, strangers and eating too much candy on Halloween, but most of us don’t consider our hearing.
Music at 100 decibels is considered harmful after just 15 minutes of exposure. Since you most likely aren’t going to be monitoring the noise level at the party with an app, here is a general rule of thumb: if the music is so loud you can’t hear someone unless they shout, it’s too loud. As a host, you have some control over the music volume; out of courtesy to your guests, turn it down. As a guest, you can protect your hearing by periodically leaving the room or stepping outside to give your ears a break. And the day after the party, avoid caffeine and give your ears a “quiet day,” which will give them a chance to recover.
If you going to a party this Halloween, designate a sober driver to make sure you get there and back safely, and that you keep the trick-or-treaters on the streets safe as well. Excited children can dart out into the streets all too quickly, and being alert will help everyone stay safe.
Be careful in the dark
If you are planning on walking to or from a party, remember that reflective tape isn’t just for kids. Carry a flashlight, wear brightly colored clothing or add reflective tape to your costume to help drivers see you. Likewise, make sure your costume doesn’t interfere with your hearing or vision. If you wear hearing aids or glasses make sure they are securely fitted so they won’t fall onto the ground.
If you or your child wears hearing aids or cochlear implants, check that they are in working order before leaving the house this Halloween. Make sure batteries are charged and carry extra batteries just in case. Nothing ruins a festive evening like suddenly not being able to hear those around you.
Quick tips for a safe Halloween
- Avoid burning candles in jack-o-lanterns. Use battery-operated candles instead.
- Kids will be running through yards on Halloween night. Make sure yards, doorways and steps are clear of cords, lawn equipment and debris.
- Leave the lights on. Remember, a well-lit entryway is safest for little ghosts and goblins.
- Young children should always be accompanied by an adult.
- Older kids should stay in groups if there are no adults accompanying them.
- Always walk on sidewalks, and stay out of the streets except at designated crossing spots.
- Pin contact information on the inside of children’s costumes in case they accidentally get separated from you.
- Adults should wear reflective tape and carry a flashlight.
- Agree on the route ahead of time.
- No crossing between parked cars.
- Kids costumes should be brightly colored or include a flashing light or reflective tape.
- Don’t let kids run too far ahead of the supervising adult.
- Have a designated meeting spot in case you get separated from your little trick-or-treater. A well-lit, crowded spot works best.
- Make sure any costumes, masks or other accessories do not interfere with hearing or vision in any way.
- No trailing or billowing costumes that could cause tripping or falling.
- Stay away from dark houses.
Healthy Hearing wishes all of our readers and their little monsters a safe, spooktacular Halloween!