Noise pollution is no good: we try to cancel it out with noise-blocking headphones, and if something loud bothers us too long we get very irritated. Whether it’s a dog barking incessantly, airplanes flying overhead, or neighborhood kids who can’t keep their voices down, noise pollution surrounds us.
How do we filter our noise?
We live in a sea of sound. Unwanted “noises” need to be filtered out so we can hear the things we want to hear. Noise pollution consists of unwanted noise, especially if it is constant or very loud.
Our hearing health can be harmed by even some of the “pleasant” sounds in our environments. Listening to music with earbuds or a loud stereo system can contribute to the noise pollution that can damage your hearing.
Any noise above 80 decibels can cause some hearing damage. Loud music or fireworks often exceed 100 decibels, so you might be exposing yourself to harmful noise pollution more often than you realize.
Noise pollution affects our hearing and can even have detrimental effects on the entire body. A few unwanted physiological effects of noise pollution are disrupted digestion, increased breathing rates, an altered heartbeat, irritability and insomnia. Noise pollution can even increase blood pressure!
You might notice a ringing in your ears after leaving a concert or other loud event. This ringing in the ears is called tinnitus. Tinnitus can go on for a few minutes or even a few days, and you get it repeatedly it can become permanent. One reason some people lose hearing as they get older is because hearing damage is cumulative.
What can I do?
The good news is that hearing loss is not inevitable. You can protect your hearing and prevent hearing damage with a few easy precautions. First limit your exposure to the noise that you can control; instead of earbuds use over-the-ear headphones and turn down the volume on your sound system for starters.
Next, avoid very loud noises whenever possible. Close the windows if there is loud equipment outside. If you are going to a loud event, wear earplugs to protect your hearing.
Noise-canceling headphones are a great investment as well, because cutting down on background noise means you can enjoy your music at a lower volume, which will protect your hearing in the long run.
You can take pro-active steps to prevent hearing loss and protect your hearing in your everyday life. This will contribute to prevention of long-term hearing loss.
Remember that the first step to halting hearing loss and preventing further damage is to recognize your situation. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a strategy to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.
Diablo Hearing Services 2301 Camino Ramon, STE 106 San Ramon (925) 394-4646