Protecting Your Newborn’s Hearing During Diwali
Diwali is one of the biggest festivals in India, and the whole family comes together to celebrate! Of course this includes the newest members too, but how do you keep babies safe from all the loud noises that are typical of a Diwali celebration?
Diwali is the kind of celebration that has Indians preparing for it months in advance! Homes are painted, furniture is renewed, gifts are bought, and sweets are ordered. All this preparation culminates in the grand finale of Diwali, the official Indian festival of lights! But Diwali isn’t just about lights, it’s also about the sounds and smells, particularly the former! While the pleasant aromas of marigolds and jasmines create a lovely ambience, the same cannot be said of the loud crackers that accompany Diwali celebrations. There have been many campaigns in recent years, about how crackers pollute the environment in addition to causing trauma for pets, babies and senior citizens.
Speaking of which, some Indian firecrackers can be very noisy, particularly the chakris and rockets! The sounds of firecrackers register at 140 decibels, a range that is high enough to cause permanent hearing damage. Considering that a baby’s hearing development can be affected by noises above 80 dB, it becomes obvious that firecrackers are a no-no for your newborn. Besides, babies’ taste and hearing are more sensitive than those of adults, so a loud cracker can really startle them. You’re probably asking, ‘So how to protect baby’s hearing during Diwali?’. While you can’t control other people’s actions and ban fireworks completely, there are a few steps you can take to protect baby ears from loud noise.
Tips to Protect your Baby’s Hearing this Diwali
- Try to spread some awareness among your society members about the harmful effects of crackers well before Diwali. Encourage them to celebrate with flowers and lights instead. Do it before they start their Diwali prep; it’s difficult to stop them from bursting crackers that they’ve already bought!
- If you absolutely must have crackers for Diwali, opt for the noiseless ones like sparklers and spinners. They look beautiful and bright but minus the noise.
- Never let your older child take a sparkler in your baby’s proximity. It is best to never give a handheld sparkler to kids under the age of five, and even then ensure proper adult supervision.
- Create a ‘safe room’ of sorts in your home, which is at a little distance from where the main celebrations will be held. When your baby gets distressed, take him to this room and close the door.
- If your baby seems like he’s enjoying the general bustle, let him, but keep his ears covered with soft ear muffs or a muffler. They offer good ear protection for the baby on Diwali and are easily available.
- Make sure your baby doesn’t wear any ear protection that is so loose that it falls off. Avoid ear plugs as they can damage baby’s ear canal and can also become a choking hazard if they come out.
- Over-stimulated babies can get cranky, so keep him comfortable during the days of the festival. Make sure he is well fed and satisfied so he is better equipped to handle all the unusual noise and chaos in the house.
- If you can, arrange for your baby’s nap during the main celebration, so he sleeps through the noise (with earmuffs, of course). Try and keep his schedule as undisturbed as possible.
- Keep the windows and doors of the house shut if you are celebrating Diwali or bursting crackers in the courtyard. This prevents the inside of your home from being exposed to noise or smoke. You can hang heavy blackout curtains for extra protection.
- Use white noise machines or calming music to help drown out some of the external noise during the celebrations.
- Create a calming environment in the ‘safe room’ with soft lighting, comfortable bedding, and familiar toys to help soothe your baby.
- Consider using noise-canceling headphones specifically designed for infants to provide extra protection for your baby’s ears.
- If you’re attending a community event or gathering, try to find a quieter spot away from the main festivities where your baby can stay comfortably.
- Plan activities that engage your baby’s senses in a positive way, such as playing with colorful toys or enjoying interactive games.
- nsure that any older children in the household are aware of the need to be gentle and considerate around the baby, especially during Diwali celebrations.
Diwali is a great time for the extended family to get together and have fun, so don’t exclude yourself or your baby from it. With a few sensible precautions for baby noise protection, you can ensure that your baby’s Diwali is a wonderful experience for everyone!