Now that spring is here and you’re spending more time enjoying the outdoors and
other recreational activities, ensure these sources of city noise pollution don’t
adversely affect your hearing.
Residing in a central location in a busy city is certainly convenient and exciting, but
beware of being out and about during rush hour. Heavy traffic produces noise levels
of around 92 decibels (dB), which is beyond the threshold for hearing safely.
Jackhammers, garbage trucks, and construction work exacerbate the noise pollution
caused by regular traffic by up to 120 dB, making those areas particularly hazardous
to your hearing health. You’ll notice that those who operate this kind of machinery
are wearing hearing protection. That means you’ll need to do the same if passing by
construction sites is unavoidable.
If you live in close quarters with noisy neighbors, such as in an apartment building,
they may be putting your hearing at risk with loud music, especially if it’s bass
heavy. Frequencies below the 500- to 2,000-hertz (Hz) range, while often reported
to be less painful than higher frequencies, have been shown to damage hearing just
as much. Barking dogs can also take a toll — even small breeds like Yorkies and
corgis can yap at 100 dB, which is hazardous to your hearing if your exposure lasts
more than an hour.
That’s right, your local shopping mall — where you go to get some effortless, airconditioned
exercise and indulge in a little retail therapy — can be a hotbed of noise
pollution. Shopping is typically a family affair, so most shoppers bring their children
along with them. Babies cry at 200 to 500 Hz, a range at which the human ear is
particularly sensitive. Even older children can produce piercing sounds that both
shatter your composure and expose you to dangerous noise levels. The acoustic
environment of a shopping mall also creates a great deal of echo so that even normal
speaking voices are amplified.
Excess noise not only damages hearing but impacts total body health cumulatively.
Adults who live and work in noisy environments exhibit higher incidences of
cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. It is important to
protect your hearing as an integral approach to a healthy lifestyle.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Hearing
1. Earplugs: Look for flanges that limit the volume while still allowing for clear
hearing of speech. Foam or silicone construction is best for earplugs because
it reduces additional decibels.
2. Earmuffs: Look for soft, padded ear cups with a slim headband so the
earmuffs will stay in place comfortably. Those soft ear cups will help air
circulation over the ear to keep your head cool. You can even find foldable,
easy-to-carry earmuffs as well as reflective ones.
3. Musicians’ earplugs: These earplugs are attenuated for accurate replication
of sound for musicians, as the fidelity of the original sound is preserved.
Sound quality is clearer and more natural, and listening fatigue due to noise
exposure is reduced.
Contact us for a preventive hearing screening and more information on
our protection products.