Noise Pollution damages ears and more
It’s become a noisy world. Before motor vehicles and electronics, the main sources of loud sound were probably thunder storms, barking dogs and crying babies. Thanks to the Industrial Revolution, countless jobs come with high levels of sound that often require hearing protection. But that is only part of our exposure to noise and all the potential harm it can cause.
In Suman Gupta’s article “Noise Pollution,” published in Alive: Canada’s Natural Health and Wellness Magazine, in April, 2015, various sources of noise for many of us living in the developed world are described. Below is the link to this excellent article. (http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=cookie,ip,cpid,url,uid&custid=s7324964&db=cmh&AN=102370223&site=chc-live). The author lists the following common exposures to noise: work in or residence near an industrial area, road traffic, airplanes, trains, construction sites, loud parties and household noise. Included in the latter category are televisions, radios, vacuum cleaners and loud conversations. Per the World Health Organization, noise is a threat to public health.
Author Gupta notes that repeated exposure to loud sound can contribute to cognitive impairment in children, sleep disturbances and cardiovascular disease. The impact is worse if it occurs at night. In “Turn Down the Noise, Turn Up the Quiet,” by Dr. Daniel Fink and Bryan Pollard (Hearing Health A Publication of Hearing Health Foundation, Summer, 2015) it is noted that thirty seconds of exposure to a 115 decibel (dB) sound can permanently damage hearing. 100-115 dB of sound volume can be reached with headphones and earbuds, chase and explosion scenes in movies, and at stadiums during sporting events. Background noise at bars, restaurants, stores and celebrations such as weddings, can also reach that painful level. This article also describes apps to document noise and suggestions for enlisting local government in decreasing noise. Here is the link to this article: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=cookie,ip,cpid,url,uid&custid=s7324964&db=cmh&AN=108435972&site=chc-live
In “Caution Noise at Work” (HearingHealthmag.com, Winter, 2014) Kathy Mestayer goes into depth about various work-related exposures to noise. She notes that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) will evaluate workplace noise at the request of employees or companies. They also can suggest ways to lower the volume in a work environment. NIOSH can also determine if a particular hearing protection fits properly. Here’s the link for this article: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=cookie,ip,cpid,url,uid&custid=s7324964&db=cmh&AN=93447131&site=chc-live
Noise-induced hearing loss, per Kate Greene in “Stop that Noise!” (Natural Life, 2015 Annuale, pages 63-67), is one of the most rapidly rising disabilities. Considering how easy it is to prevent such damage as well as the other health effects, isn’t it time we took action?