Edmonton researchers warn popping balloons as loud as gun blasts

University of Alberta researcher Bill Hodgetts pops a balloon to measure the loudness when it ruptures in a handout photo. Hodgetts has found that noise from bursting balloons can be unsafe for children's hearing.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-University of Alberta-Bill Hodgetts

EDMONTON - Bill Hodgetts doesn't want to be a party-pooper.

But the University of Alberta researcher has found that noise from bursting balloons can be unsafe for children's hearing.

The audiologist says popping a balloon next to someone's ear is as loud as firing a high-powered shotgun.

The finding is part of a study, co-authored by engineer Dylan Scott, recently published in Canadian Audiologist.

Hodgetts says kids typically find popping balloons irresistible, especially at birthday parties, but it may contribute to long-term hearing loss.

He hopes parents will come to consider hearing protection as important as putting sunscreen on their children before they go outside.


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