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 those sounds are actually being referred to as 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. It causes 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, lawn mowers, snow blowers, washers, TVs and 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 can be damaging, and music played on your iPhone or from you iPod can easily reach decibels levels of over 100 if you crank up the volume.
Most manufacturing facilities, even if they use robots, still make lots of noise. There is heavy machinery used in packaging or 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.
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. Subways, large buses, homes located near airports – if you aren’t hearing the vehicles, you are hearing, and noise associated with them.
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 being done on the road when we are driving. There’re new roadways, new bridges, repaving – and that requires equipment which 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 that help transmit the sound to the brain where it is processed. Once the cells are damaged or destroyed, they don’t regenerate, and our hearing starts to deteriorate.
Noise pollution has been linked to sleeping disorders, anxiety issues, high blood pressure, an elevated heart rate and cardiovascular problems. This is in addition to the obvious communication issues. And, noise pollution causes the obvious 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 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-pane 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 sound proofing in the 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 condition when its running outside. Know your noise – power tools like chainsaws, leaf blowers, nail hammers and lawn mowers are loud. Wear ear protection when you are using them or are exposed to them.
Protect your ears during your hobby time, too. Motorcycles, power boats, target shooting all involve loud noise so wear ear plugs or ear muffs.
Watch the volume on your personal devices. Although having the volume cranked up on your music may help give you an adrenaline burst while you are exercising, you are going to pay for it with ear damage – 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!