Rock ‘n’ Roll ain’t noise pollution… We all know lots of other things are. Besides light, noise is one of the most pervasive pollutants on the planet. It is everywhere. And there is some of it you can definitely prevent and avoid, for yourself and others.
Noise-induced hearing loss is preventable. It is also permanent. Most people think immediately of large blasting noises, like gunfire, as the kind of thing which can affect your hearing. In fact, the constant din around you damages your hearing.
Sound is measured in decibels. Once you get to 85dB, you are damaging your hearing. The recommendation is for less than eight hours of noise per day, and the majority of which should be under 70dB.
Some everyday sounds are less than 90dB:
- Rural night sounds…35
- Moderate rainfall…50dB
- Truck driving 30mph…60dB
- Washing machine…75dB
- Noisy restaurant…85dB
Some everyday sounds over 90dB:
- Standard earphones…100dB
- Car horn…110dB
- Ambulance siren…120dB
- Jet takeoff…150dB
- Rocket takeoff…200dB
(Psst. They used to call this anatomy.) Even soft sounds make a difference. Crickets’ chirping outside registers at 30dB, and that is enough to disturb sleep. 85dB causes a stress reaction. The human ear feels pain around 120dB.
To curb the amount of damage to your body, you must limit your exposure to sound. As the noise gets louder (and longer), your levels go up:
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
Preserve Your Hearing
Do some simple things to ensure you will be able to hear Mate whisper sweet nothings in your year for decades to come. Turn down the television, music and video games. Pay attention to the noises in your home and eliminate all you can. Wear appropriate, fitted ear protection when you are in noisy places. Roll the windows up in the car to block out traffic noise. (And do not turn up the radio to compensate.)
The Honking Law
How often do you blow your car horn? Did you know it is against the law to blow your horn except when it is reasonably necessary to operate your vehicle safely? (Dear Dads, threaten daughter’s horn blowing boyfriend with the law.)
The only other horns which are legal are alarm horns. This is not about protecting your hearing, but your safety. Civil defense sirens are designed to warn of imminent danger and need to be heard as an unusual sound.
The law really is on your ears’ side. Exposure to 110dB begins to do damage to your ears in one minute 29 seconds.
Do your part to curb noise pollution and traffic noise. Only use your horn when absolutely necessary to ensure driving safety. Teach someone else not to use it to punctuate anger, say hello or goodbye, call people out of the house, announce arrival or protest.
Get your hearing checked. Now.
Are you or a family member one of the 28 million affected by noise-related hearing loss? Do you make a conscious effort to reduce noise? Name a sound in your house you can eliminate. Do you follow the law about your horn? Will you make a difference?
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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