Independence Day is known as a day filled with barbecues, picnics, parties, and most importantly, fireworks. But, not everyone looks forward to the big bangs of Fourth of July fireworks. For Veterans suffering from PTSD, the loud cracks of fireworks after fireworks can trigger severe flashbacks of past traumatic experiences. For all of those who find fireworks more frightening than fun, here we list some of the ways you can fight back against illegal firework use, which headphones help block out the most noise, and an organization that helps with coping with PTSD.

Fireworks in New York

The use of fireworks in New York City is illegal. Although some people disagree with this law (and others completely ignore it), the law is still the law. Unlawful use of fireworks can be reported, as well as the storing, transportation, buying, and selling of fireworks.

For the reporting of current use of illegal fireworks in your area, call 911.

For the reporting of past or frequent firework use in your area, call 311.

Of course, public fireworks’ displays done professionally with permits are perfectly legal. Certain types of sparkling devices are legal in certain counties outside of NYC. For a complete list of counties where fireworks are legal, visit here.

Ways to help block out the noise

Of course, this is NYC, and illegal fireworks are bound to happen around the Fourth of July. And while reporting illegal use of fireworks is the best option, there is no guarantee that the use of fireworks will completely stop, nor does it prevent some of the illegal activity from happening in the first place. In many cases, blocking out the noise may be your best option. And the easiest, cheapest option for noise-blocking are headphones.

When dealing with earplugs and phones, there are a few different options:

Noise-canceling headphones are made for the purpose of blocking out outside noise. But, they can be very costly.
Earplugs are also good at blocking out noise, but should be used appropriately and safely to ensure the best blockage.
Earbud headphones go directly into the ear, and can be used to listen to music or other varying things to help block out noise. For some with sensitive ears or hearing issues, listening to headphones may be uncomfortable. Furthermore, when using headphones, it is important to not listen to them too loudly, which can cause damage to the inner ears.
Over the ear headphones gives a larger coverage than normal earbud headphones, and because they cover around the ear and are not directly in the ear, they are, generally, safer to use. Of course, they should still not be turned up too loudly for the same reasons as earbud headphones
Felt headphones are a great alternative for those who feel uncomfortable with regular headphones. Because they are flat and are worn as a band, they’re great to use when laying down.

Other ways to cope

Organizations such as Military With PTSD help raise awareness for veterans with PTSD. One of their most well-known programs offer signs that can be placed in front of veterans’ homes warning others to be courteous when using fireworks. They also feature other programs, including peer to peer support systems that can be found here.