The Growing Problem of Noise Pollution

The growing problem of noise pollution. Our lives exist with a lot of background noise traffic, alerts on our phone, construction noise, the television on all the time it just seems natural. But people are beginning to call these sounds an urban plague and concerns are growing about the dangers of noise pollution. A yearly hearing evaluation or more if you feel your hearing has been damaged, at Hearing Group will help make sure you don’t fall victim to noise pollution.

It’s a noisy life

Sound is everywhere. When sound rises to the level of dangerous or disturbing, it becomes noise and noise pollution. Unfortunately, it then can cause physical and emotional distress. We get so used to it, we don’t realize it is harming us.

Noise pollution starts at home. From food processors to vacuum cleaners, lawnmowers, snowblowers, washers, TVs, the refrigerator, and air condition – everything makes a sound. Add barking dogs, babies crying, nearby construction and/or manufacturing facilities and the noise can become overpowering. Sound over 85 decibels are potentially damaging, and music playing on your iPhone or from your iPod can easily reach decibels levels of over 100 if you crank up the volume.

Industrial noise

Most manufacturing facilities, even if they use robots, still make lots of noise. They are using heavy machinery in packaging, cleaning, and power generators. There are trucks going in and out. Studies show people who live in or near cities with a large industrial base are most affected by noise pollution.

Social sounds

We take the background noise at parties, weddings, outdoor markets, malls, and restaurants as an everyday feature. But they play a role in noise pollution. That?s why cities and towns have enacted noise ordinances to help handle the growing problem. Transportation adds to the clamor with loud subways, large buses, and homes located near airports.

Urban areas continue to grow, and construction noise has become normal. As we build out our infrastructures, we can’t even escape the noise because there always seems to be work in progress on the roads. There’re new roadways, new bridges, repaving and that requires equipment that generates noise.

Effects of noise pollution

Your body processes sound inside the ear. There are tiny delicate cells that sit on hairs in your ear. They help transmit the sound to the brain where it will go through processing. Once the cells are damaged or destroyed, they don’t regenerate, and our hearing starts to decline.

Noise pollution has been linked to sleeping disorders, anxiety issues, high blood pressure, elevated heart rate, and cardiovascular problems. This is in addition to the obvious communication issues. And, noise pollution adds to any communication problem.

Protect yourself from noise

Practice quiet time at home for the entire family. It’s a great way to unwind before bedtime and ramp up for the next day’s activities. If you’re having problems convincing the family that the house isn’t quiet, take a drive into the country or to a large city park. Just sit, no car engine noise, no cellphones, just the quiet.

Consider getting double-paned windows when your windows need to be replaced, they are great sound barriers with a bonus of heating and cooling savings. Weather-stripping will also help with soundproofing your house.

You don’t have to have the television on all the time. Stop just routinely turning it on if you aren’t watching it, just to have background noise.

Stay away from noise don’t sit near the refrigerator or near the air conditioner when it’s running outside. Know your noise power tools like chainsaws, leaf blowers, hammers, and lawnmowers are loud. Wear ear protection when you are using them or are exposed to them.

Make sure you are protecting your hearing during your hobby time, too. Motorcycles, powerboats, target shooting, they all involve loud noise, so wear earplugs or earmuffs.

Watch the volume on your personal devices. Although having the volume cranked up on your music may help give you an adrenaline rush while you are exercising, you are going to pay for it through hearing damage, it’s not worth it!

Get a hearing test

A hearing test each year at Hearing Group will ensure you are taking proper care of your hearing health. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

Jesse Hidalgo, BC-HIS

Jesse is Board Certified in Hearing Instruments and has built over 25 practices during his business career starting in 1998. Using his training in Hearing Instrument Sciences he has helped thousands of patients across those practices hear better.
Published: October 12, 2018
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