How often do you find yourself in a place without noise? Probably less than you realize.
Our daily activities expose us to countless sources of noise pollution, and they can be hazardous to your health.
What is Noise Pollution?
The short definition is any noise that reduces your quality of life.
Environmental noise pollution includes the sounds of everyday living. Appliances, hairdryers, lawnmowers, cars and construction produce ambient noise that can affect your hearing over an extended period.
Social noise is often overlooked. It includes sound created by headphones, televisions, radios and social gathering spaces like restaurants.
How It Affects Your Health
Hearing loss: Any noise over 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing damage.
Heart health: Noise pollution has been linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Loud, irritating noises trigger our fight-or-flight response. That causes our bodies to release stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can put excess strain on your heart.
High blood pressure: When you accidentally turn the music up too loud or hear a sudden bang, your pulse is likely to start racing. An increased heart rate may raise your blood pressure and damage blood vessels.
Sleep: Loss of sleep is one of the most harmful effects of noise pollution since deep sleep is essential to our well-being. Insufficient sleep may lead to mood swings, difficulty concentrating, agitation, depression, daytime fatigue and cognitive impairment.
Psychological stress: Loud noises and distractions affect your ability to relax. You may feel like you’re constantly on edge and can’t unwind. Stress causes problems with concentration, sleep and productivity.
Reducing Noise Pollution
Here are some easy ways to reduce your exposure to noise pollution:
- Turn down the volume on your television, radio and headphones. Remember the 60/60 rule: limit listening sessions to 60 minutes at no more than 60% volume.
- Wear noise-canceling headphones while you listen to music, shows and podcasts. That way, you won’t have to crank the volume.
- Wear hearing protection in noisy workplaces, concerts and gun ranges.
- Install carpets or add rugs to rooms with hardwood floors to absorb sound.
- Close doors to rooms with noisy appliances, like the kitchen or laundry room.
- Roll up car windows during your daily commute, especially if you’re driving through construction.
If you suspect you have noise-induced hearing loss, take our free online hearing screening. And contact Audiology & Hearing Services of Charlotte online or call 704-412-7975 to schedule a thorough hearing evaluation.