The secret of relationship between hearing loss and noise pollution in cities
In the hustle and bustle of city life, many are oblivious to the profound impact of noise pollution on our well-being. This article aims to peel back the layers of this concealed relationship, shedding light on the often-overlooked consequences of noise pollution.
Noise pollution: a health risk
Are you aware of the noise levels that surround you on a daily basis? If you don't know the answer, you're not the only one.
Most people accept the noise in their environment as part of their daily lives, but for those of us who live in large cities or work in noisy environments, we must be aware of the risks and try to make changes in our daily lives that help us protect ourselves. our hearing.
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), noise pollution causes hearing loss, cognitive impairment, stress, depression and cardiovascular problems.
It is generally accepted that 85 decibels (db) is the highest level of "safe" noise exposure. However, recent studies indicate that noise levels above 60 decibels may lead to an increased risk of developing heart disease.
Given that the risks of environmental noise are not widely understood by the general public and those responsible for public health policies, the risk of noise pollution goes largely unnoticed in the current health landscape. Therefore, it is necessary to raise awareness among the population so that they understand what implications it has for their health.
Noise pollution in cities around the world
Cities worldwide are grappling with the pervasive issue of noise pollution, characterized by incessant traffic, blaring sirens, honking horns, and ceaseless construction work. This constant auditory assault, prevalent 24/7, creates an environment of heightened stress for urban dwellers. New York City, a staggering 200,000 noise complaints were filed in 2016, highlighting the magnitude of the problem. Similarly, in London, the noise levels within the tube system soar to as high as 105 decibels.
Mimi Hearing Technologies, a pioneering company addressing hearing-related concerns, delved into this global soundscape dilemma. Leveraging data from 200,000 hearing tests, incorporating information from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Sintef, they developed a comprehensive World Hearing Index encompassing 50 cities.
The study uncovered a significant 64% positive correlation between hearing loss and noise pollution in cities. This stark connection underscores the critical impact of the urban sonic environment on the health of city dwellers.
For those residing in bustling urban centers, the implications are clear – prolonged exposure to high noise levels poses a genuine threat to hearing health. The study suggests that individuals experiencing hearing-related concerns should contemplate relocating to quieter environments. Moving to a more serene part of town or even considering a change of cities could be a proactive step toward preserving auditory well-being.
The loudest jobs
Our jobs are an integral part of our daily lives, but some jobs are more demanding on our hearing health than others.
One of the noisiest work environments is for airport ground staff. Standing on the tarmac next to an airplane for a full work day means these employees are subjected to sound levels of approximately 140db, which is significantly higher than the recommended maximum of 85db!!
Miners and construction workers are also exposed to very high sound levels (up to 120db).
Another risky sector is that of musicians. Some research reveals that 4 in 10 musicians have some degree of hearing loss and are exposed to an average sound level of approximately 115db during concerts.
Other professionals who are exposed to less healthy sound levels include: military personnel, railroad workers, nightclub waiters, factory workers, and truck drivers.
The most effective thing at-risk employees can do is educate themselves on how to limit their exposure to potentially harmful sound levels. As noted above, using noise-cancelling earplugs is an effective way to reduce the level of sound you are exposed to. Get into the habit of carrying earplugs whenever you suspect you may be entering a noisy environment.
Our environment and work can increase the risk of exposure to high levels of noise pollution, leading to an increased risk of hearing loss.
There is a direct relationship between hearing loss and noise pollution in cities, so we must pay attention to the potential risks of living in these types of noisy environments. Additionally, working in certain professions exposes us to unhealthy sound levels that can irreparably damage our hearing.
If you live or work in a noisy environment, look for ways to minimize your noise exposure and invest in a pair of noise-reducing earplugs to reduce the level of noise you are exposed to.
If you think your hearing has worsened due to exposure to loud noises, get your hearing checked for free at our hearing test online.
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