Noise pollution is a growing 21st Century concern. With population expanding, towns and cities becoming larger, and industries thriving, noise pollution exists heavily all over the world.
What Is Noise Pollution?
Noise pollution can be described as harsh, disturbing noise with the potential to have a harmful impact on human and animal life. As a result, noise pollution can have a detrimental effect on our ears, causing noise-induced hearing loss.
Environmental or outdoor noise is a global issue with the consequence of dangerous health effects, and can even be dated as far back as Ancient Rome.
A 21st Century Concern…
For most people, loud noises are part of daily life. The roars of a passing train, the clamor of a construction site, the blast of an overly loud car stereo are not just sound backdrops. Sometimes the sounds that occur in our environment can create stress and permanently damage hearing.
Many noise sources are becoming better controlled. However, the number of sources and geographical spread of noise is increasing. For example, there are more flights; plans for runway expansions and road traffic numbers also continue to rise.
With transport pressures set to continue with population expansion into the 21st Century the potential for this type of noise pollution to grow in proportion is significant.
What Are The Biggest Causes Of Noise Pollution?
The rising problem of noise pollution has many causes.
Vehicles & Transportation
Of particular note is the amount of noise coming from aircraft, cars, and trains. Even the sirens from ambulances, police cars and emergency vehicles can be attributed to causing environmental noise. That is why transport is often highlighted as producing excessive levels of noise pollution.
These are in addition, ever greater quantities of other noise sources. This includes radios, music players, television, alarms, washing machines, refrigerators, dishwashers, telephones, as well as landscaping equipment such as shredders, trimmers, and mowers.
A recent study by Action On Hearing Loss identified that 91% of us would avoid revisiting a noisy restaurant.
Industrial Sounds & The Workplace
Evermore, where we work could be a lead cause of outdoor noise. Construction industries, agriculture, and even teaching careers can generate excessive noise. Even continue exposure to loud sounds in the workplace or office can be a form of indoor noise which has the potential to be harmful.
You may also be interested in: 10 Most Risky Jobs For Your Hearing
The evergrowing number of people on planet Earth, and the added expanse of urban areas means the hustle and bustle of cities and towns is a growing issue. More people, more jobs, more industry can equate to more noise and more damaging noise.
The Harmful Impact Of Noise Pollution
With the development of advanced technology, the community and environment are affected both directly and indirectly.
Besides problems of annoyance and sleep disturbance, several specific forms of ill health are associated with exposure to outdoor noise pollution, and in particular heart disease. For example, continued exposure to urban sounds such as ongoing noise from consistent traffic can lead to coronary heart disease.
This article from The Independent may shed more light on health implications: How Noise Pollution Can Affect Your Health
Not only are humans affected, but environment noise is also negatively impacting the animal kingdom. Recent studies show that oysters really on sound even though they don't have ears, and human-induced noise is disrupting clam-life.
Other examples include:
- Noise Pollution Disruptive For Schooling Fish
- Windfarm Construction Noise Could Make Fish More Vulnerable To Predators
- Take On Nature: Hey Humanity: Any Chance Of Keeping The Noise Down?
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
One meaning of "noise" is the loud, piercing sounds that might instantly damage your hearing (sudden hearing loss). Sounds entering the ear are carried through the eardrum to the middle ear. Small hairs located in the cochlea transform the sound waves into electrical impulses. The hearing nerves transmit these impulses to the brain. Afterwards, the brain interprets them as sounds. This is how one sound is recognized from another.
Continuous exposure to loud noise can damage the hair cells and once damaged, they cannot be repaired. This is known as sensorineural hearing loss, which may require hearing aids to effectively manage the condition. Usually, the hairs are damaged due to a sudden loud noise, such as gunfire, an explosion, or a firecracker. Ordinary devices such as chainsaws, tools, stereos, blow dryers can also substantially impair hearing.
Generally, noise-induced hearing loss begins with trouble hearing high-frequency tones and then gradually starts to include lower tones as it becomes more severe. Both ears are usually affected equally. Unfortunately, the predictions for the future are that noise-induced hearing loss will increase due to prolonged exposure to massive industrial equipment, huge vehicles, and loud music so it is important to wear suitable ear protection and consider the levels of self-controlled noise to which you expose yourself.
How Can I Protect My Hearing?
At Hearing Direct, you will find a number of valuable ways to help keep your ears safe from harmful, damaging sounds.
Hearing protection such as ear plugs can be a key method to reduce the amount of aggressive sound that enters the ear canal. Ear plugs can be worn wherever and whenever, meaning you can avoid the risk of noise-induced hearing loss or reduce exposure when in noisy environments.
If you have any concerns about your hearing, take our free online hearing test. Alternatively, if you have any questions, get in touch and our expert team will do their very best to help you.