What Is Noise Pollution and How Does It Affect Hearing Health?

Noise pollution affects millions of people globally daily. Among the health issues noise pollution can cause include: high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep disturbances, and stress. Affecting everyone from children to older adults, noise pollution can also cause long-term, devastating damage to one’s hearing. Continue reading to learn more about noise pollution and how you can protect yourself.

What Is Noise Pollution?

According to Environmental Pollution Centers, noise pollution is continuous exposure to elevated sound levels that can lead to adverse effects in humans and animals. Any exposure to more than eight hours of constant noise beyond 85 dB (decibels) is considered hazardous noise pollution. Many people deal with noise pollution without even realizing it. Those working eight hours a day close to a busy road are more than likely exposed to traffic noise pollution around 85 dB.

How Common Is Noise Pollution?

An airplane flying through the sky

Noise pollution is much more common than most people might think. While many might assume that noise pollution only affects those who work in noisy environments, like taxi or bus drivers in the city, anyone who lives in a densely populated area is likely exposed to noise pollution daily. According to the CDC, an estimated 12.5% of children and 17% of adults have suffered permanent hearing damage from exposure to noise pollution.

Sources of Noise Pollution

There are many sources of noise pollution spanning many different environments. Some common sources of noise pollution include:

  • Gunfire
  • Big events that include the use of loudspeakers, firecrackers, and fireworks
  • Overly loud household sounds like television, music playing on a stereo or headphones, vacuum cleaners, coolers, fans, washing machines, lawnmowers, and dishwashers
  • Train station traffic like horns
  • Industrial sounds like generators, fans, mills, and compressor
  • Street traffic sounds created by buses, cars, pedestrians, and ambulances
  • Sounds caused by building or road construction including, drilling or operation of other heavy machinery
  • Airport sounds like planes taking off and landing
  • Exposure to constant loud music at concerts

Protecting Yourself From Noise Pollution

Overexposure to too much loud noise can cause much more than noise pollution hearing loss. Noise pollution can also cause dementia and psychological dysfunctions, making it even more critical that you know how to protect yourself. Ways to protect yourself from noise pollution include:

  • Try to maintain a level of around 35 dB in your bedroom and around 40 dB in the rest of your home during the day
  • Use earplugs when you’re exposed too long to elevated sounds
  • Try to live as far away from residential traffic as possible
  • Try not to use earphones for a prolonged period of time

Speak With an Audiologist for Expert Care

The experienced audiologists at Associated Hearing Professionals can help you recover from noise pollution. From hearing aids to hearing tests, we have the necessary tools to help you hear comfortably. Visit one of our two offices located in St. Louis and Chesterfield, or call us at 314-725-2686 for more information.