It's Too Noisy!
We live in a hubbub of environmental pollution—air, artificial light, and noise are a few. Noise pollution may not come to mind when speaking of pollution but with World Hearing Day on March 3, the awareness is getting louder.
Photo Credit: World Health Organization
One in four people suffers from hearing loss in America. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 5% of the world's population has disabling hearing loss.
My sister who's career is in marketing, has lost nearly 50% of her hearing and depends on hearing aids at 40. Numerous doctors have tried to find the cause for years.
Yet, I've been in the music business for over 20 years and lost a little hearing, but suffer from sound hypersensitivity known as hyperacusis. For me, it's the leaf blowers and illegally tweaked motorcycle mufflers. It flips a switch, and I turn into the Hulk.
Noise pollution can cause hearing loss, psychological, physical, and sleep disturbances. A few are stress, anxiety, depression, heart attacks, and headaches. Any sound above 65db is deemed risky.
Even occasional annoying sounds can make working from home increasingly difficult. Sounds can trigger an amygdala response located in the brain stem, known for its role in fight or flight, making it hard to focus.
If someone lives in an older building where the walls' insulation are paper-thin, there isn't much one can do. Sound travels through any space between doors and windows, and poorly insulated walls.
While working, try noise-canceling headphones or earplugs. Acoustic sound panels can help dull noise in particular spots. Nowadays, you can find decent quality panels for a low price. Sealing any gaps and spaces are big helpers, especially if you can't replace windows.
Being home can trigger us from our kids' activities, sirens, barking dogs, gardeners, garbage day, and a neighbor's three-month home renovation. Then, there are structure-borne sounds that can drive apartment or condo residents crazy. So crazy that when I researched noise, These Google suggestions below appeared!
I've come across Yelp reviews that emphasized that a restaurant was deafening and would think to myself, aren't all crowded areas loud? Maybe not in our current situation because of precautionary mandates, but usually, restaurants can be noisy.
The fact is that chronic noise pollution significantly impacts our well-being. It also is affecting our oceans and wildlife. It's essential to take action for our physical and mental health and environment. Everyday activities can seriously affect your future hearing.
Some of us will attend shows once everything opens back up -- and those can be loud. When we were freely frolicking wherever we wished, local governments are left to regulate noise pollution in the pre-mask days. Make sure to write your local governments and find ways you can change the negative impacts of noise pollution in your life. We all are accountable.
Get a hearing exam. Don't stick Q-tips in your inner ears. Lower the volume. Wear earplugs at concerts. (Trust, you will be able to hear the music perfectly without tinnitus aka ear ringing)after.) Try avoiding noisy places. While out, there are apps, such as Soundprint, that measure the environment's noise level.
We all want to stress less, sleep more, and have healthy bodies. These components all have an impact on our skin health. It's no fun being an audience for a band of noise. If you live in a noisy environment, here are a few possible solutions to dampen unwanted sounds.
Carpet or Rugs
Mass Loaded Vinyl
Soundproofing Curtains or Blankets
Acoustic Foam Panels
Hang Thick Tapestries
Ear Wax Plugs, Standard or Silicone Ear Plugs
White Noise Machine
It's always best to consult with your audiologist and physician if you need coping mechanisms for any hearing issues.
Let's take care of our health which includes our ears!