February 26, 2024

Dealing with Noise Pollution in Your Neighborhood

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Do you wake up to the sound of a barking dog, music blasting from the apartment next door, or the sound or early morning traffic? Noise pollution is all around us. And all this noise affects both your physical and mental health.

Sources of Noise Pollution in Your Neighborhood

Unless you live in a small town or in the countryside, you’re no stranger to noise pollution. Background noise is around you all the time, from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. And if you live on a busy road or near an airport, noise pollution may even continue during the night.

The World Health Organization defines noise pollution as noise that “seriously harms human health and interferes with people’s daily activities at school, at work, at home and during leisure time. It can disturb sleep, cause cardiovascular and psychophysiological effects, reduce performance and provoke annoyance responses and changes in social behavior.”

Some of the most common sources of noise pollution in your neighborhood include:

  • Traffic noise
  • Loud music from passing cars
  • Emergency sirens
  • A lawn mower
  • Sound from a nearby construction site
  • Sound from a nearby concert hall or sports stadium
  • An airplane overhead

Indoor sources of noise pollution can include:

  • Shouting kids
  • The TV blaring
  • Loud music
  • The vacuum cleaner
  • The noisy air conditioner or dishwasher

These are just some of the sounds you hear every day. Can you think of any more sounds that contribute to your neighborhood noise pollution?

How Excessive Noise Is Harmful

All this background sound may seem like just an annoyance, but noise pollution can actually be very harmful.

Hearing loss: One of the biggest risks from noise pollution is hearing loss. The constant sounds may not seem so loud, but because your ears never get a rest, you have a higher risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss.

Poor sleep: Another consequence of noise pollution is poor sleep. All the extra racket during the day makes you more stressed and you’ll have a harder time getting to sleep at night. And if your neighborhood is noisy through the night, this noise could be waking you up during the night and affecting the quality of your sleep.

Negative physical outcomes: According to one recent study, noise pollution can affect your physical health in a number of ways. The constant noise increases your risk of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, reduced immune system function, endocrine disruption, reduced productivity, and difficulty learning.

Negative mental health outcomes: Noise pollution also affects your mental health. Have you noticed that you get irritated easily? The constant noise in your environment adds to your overall stress levels and poor sleep makes you chronically tired. Noise pollution can contribute to stress, anxiety, irritation, and even depression.

How to Deal with Noise Pollution

Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself from the harmful effects of noise pollution.

Start by turning down the volume of your TV or radio so that the inside of your home isn’t another source of noise pollution. Also turn down the volume on your personal listening device whether you’re listening at home, at work, or on the commute. Turning the volume up past 60% to drown out noise pollution can actually lead to hearing loss!

To deal with noise pollution, use area rugs or carpets in your home to absorb sounds and make it softer in the house. It’s also a good idea to put up a fence around your yard and plant trees, since this can block some of the neighborhood noise. You can also invest in quieter home appliances, a quiet vacuum cleaner, and quieter gardening equipment.

Protecting Your Hearing

As well as reducing your exposure to noise pollution, make sure you’re protecting your hearing. Whenever you’re in a very noisy environment, pop in a pair of foam or wax earplugs to reduce the volume of the sound. Some places where you should protect your hearing include:

  • Noisy bus or subway car
  • Loud concert
  • Sports game
  • When riding a motorcycle
  • When driving a boat
  • When mowing the lawn or using a leaf blower
  • When operating power tools

It’s important to deal with noise pollution in your neighborhood and create a peaceful and quiet environment in your home to give your ears a chance to rest.

If you are interested in learning more about custom hearing protection, contact us today! We can give you more information on the best ways to protect your hearing.

Dr. Teague earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Hearing, Speech and Language from Ohio University and his Doctoral Degree in Audiology from The University of Louisville. He is an active member of the American Academy of Audiology and the Ohio Board of Audiology.

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