What types of noises bother you? A blaring TV in the living room, a nearby construction site and your neighbor’s barking dog probably come to mind. Noises like these don’t just annoy you, they can also impact your health. We discuss the effects of noise pollution below.
What’s Noise Pollution?
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that noise pollution is excessive noise that seriously harms human health and interferes with people’s daily activities. It’s sometimes referred to as the “modern unseen plague” or “secondhand sound” – similar to secondhand smoke.
Where Does Noise Pollution Come From?
You’ll experience different types of noise pollution from different sources depending on where you live, where you work, how you commute and what your hobbies are. Some common sources include:
- Construction sites.
- Air traffic to and from Hanscom Field.
- Industrial machinery.
- Power tools.
How Does Noise Pollution Impact Your Health?
The health impacts of noise pollution are mental and physical.
- Mental health. Our brains are always monitoring the sounds in our environment for signs of danger, even during sleep. Loud and frequent sounds can trigger stress and anxiety. This can cause you to feel frustrated, irritable and angry, especially if you can’t do anything to control the noises. Additionally, noise pollution can cause sleep disturbances, exacerbating mental health issues.
- Physical health. Exposure to loud and frequent sounds can also cause hearing problems like hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and hyperacusis (sound sensitivity). Indirectly, it can also contribute to other health conditions like raised blood pressure, increased blood viscosity and higher rates of cardiovascular disease.
How Can I Protect Myself from Noise Pollution?
Some strategies for reducing the effects of noise pollution include:
- Reducing appliance noises. You can do this by investing in appliance models with lower decibel outputs, or turning them off more often/putting them on a timer so they’re not running as often.
- Reducing media volume. Turn your TV down as low as you can still hear to prevent damage. You can turn on the closed captioning to ensure you’re not missing anything.
- Soundproofing. Add insulation to your home to reduce highway, construction, air travel, train and neighbor noises.
- Creating quiet time. Schedule times of quiet, when you’re not exposed to any noises in order to give your ears a break.
- Wearing hearing protection. If you can’t prevent yourself from being exposed to certain noises, wear hearing protection from Massachusetts Hearing Group.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call Massachusetts Hearing Group today.