While most other forms of pollution are visible (think LA smog), noise pollution is invisible. However, that doesn’t make it any less harmful. Hearing loss is a very real consequence of not protecting yourself from noise pollution, but there are other negative effects of noise pollution as well. Below is an overview of what constitutes noise pollution and how you can protect yourself.
Sound vs. Noise
Sound is the phenomenon of changes in air pressure that cause vibrations in the ear that the brain interprets as meaningful. Meanwhile, noise is the bothersome, undesired sound that takes a toll emotionally and physically.
Some examples of noise pollution include:
- Construction sites: Between cranes, cement mixers, pay loaders and jackhammers, it can be difficult to hear yourself think over the noise of a construction site without wearing hearing protection.
- Large events: If your neighbor likes to throw raging parties or you live near a concert venue or club, you may not enjoy yourself as much as the attending patrons.
- Traffic: If you live near a highway, you may be acclimated to the sounds of car engines, honking horns and wind noise of passing cars.
- Airport traffic: Incoming and outgoing airplanes are typically much louder in volume and more sporadic than regular highway traffic.
- Industrial machinery: Furnaces, generators and other machinery at industrial sites can be harmful, but mostly to the people who work there.
The Effects of Noise Pollution
It’s fairly obvious that loud noises can cause hearing damage. But there are other ways your body is affected by noise pollution, too. Excessive noise can lead to:
- Increased blood pressure
- Intensified effect of drugs and alcohol
- Altered heartbeat
- Increased breathing rate
- Disturbed digestion
- Pre-mature childbirth
How to Protect Yourself
The best way to protect yourself against noise pollution is to wear high-quality earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones whenever you are in an area with heavy noise pollution. You can order a set of custom earplugs from your audiologist’s office for maximum comfort and protection.
For more information about protecting your hearing or to schedule a visit with an expert audiologist, call House Providence Health Care Centers today.