Consider the noises that bother you: your alarm clock, nearby construction or your neighbor’s barking dog. Not only can these sounds drive you crazy, they can also impact your health. Below we review what noise pollution is, sources of noise pollution, its impacts and how it can be avoided.
What Is Noise Pollution?
The World Health Organization refers to noise pollution as excessive noise that interferes with daily activities and harms human health. Some experts even refer to it as the “modern unseen plague.”
What Are the Sources of Noise Pollution?
Depending on where you live, where you work and what your hobbies are, you’ll experience different types of noise pollution from different sources. Some common ones include:
- Construction sites
- Industrial machinery
- Power tools
- House parties
What Are the Impacts of Noise Pollution?
Some of the health impacts of noise pollution are described below.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Inside the inner ear is the cochlea, which is lined with tiny hair cells called stereocilia. These cells convert sound waves into electrical energy that the brain interprets as sound. When dangerously loud sounds pass through the ears, it can damage or destroy the stereocilia, which do not regenerate. The result is permanent sensorineural hearing loss.
In addition to noise-induced hearing loss, damage to the stereocilia can cause them to misfire, causing a phantom ringing sound in the ears known as tinnitus.
Think back to those sounds that bother you. Do they cause stress? If you live in a noisy place like the city, you’re exposed to bothersome sounds all day and maybe even all night. This can lead to the release of stress hormones, causing all sorts of other complications, including regarding metabolism and immune system function.
If noise pollution keeps you up at night or wakes you throughout the night, it can lead to daytime symptoms like irritability and poor work or school performance.
How Can I Avoid Noise Pollution?
Some ways you can reduce noise pollution include:
- Investing in appliances with low decibel outputs.
- Repairing or replacing old machinery and automobiles.
- Keeping the volume of the TV and music players low.
- Soundproofing your home.
- Creating quiet time.
- Wearing hearing protection when attending concerts or sporting events.
- Wearing noise-cancelling headphones when traveling.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, call SoundLogic today.