Researchers warn for hearing loss with popping balloon

Researchers warn for hearing loss with popping balloon

Photo: Hollandse Hoogte

The sound of a balloon that is broken pops, may be harmful for the hearing. During a study where the number of decibels was measured, the noise levels detected approximately equal to that of an average shotgun.

Researchers from the Canadian University of Alberta found that a balloon in the loudest pops when he is blown up to he apart jumps, around 168 decibels.

When a balloon with a sharp object or with the hands broken was made, noted the researchers with a less hard sound of between 155 and 159 decibels. This is similar to the 161 decibels that a shotgun generates.

Audiologist Bill Hodgetts took the initiative for the study because he wondered what the consequences of popping balloons for the hearing of his two young daughters. They are occasionally exposed to such sounds at children’s parties.


According to Canadian guidelines, people would not need to expose to geluidsimpulsen higher than 140 decibels. In the Netherlands it is not recommended to listen to sounds of 120 decibels and above. This can be direct damage to the hearing cause.

Sounds between 80 and 120 decibels can also be harmful, depending on how long listened to.

Hodgetts hopes that the results of his study to other parents, encourages hearing protection is just as common to find as, for example, the application of sun protection.


“I doubt parents teach their own child a gun would let you use without hearing protection,” said Hodgetts. “And yet it is a balloon is seen as a feestdeugd.”

Nevertheless, it emphasizes to the researcher that it is not his intention to balloons in the ban, but to make parents aware of the dangers. “The loss of hearing is insidious, it is not visible and it happens throughout the entire service life. Each exposure can be a significant problem in the future contributions.”

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