Take care of your ears on International Noise Awareness Day
Today is International Noise Awareness Day when people, organisations, and governments around the world commemorate the 21st Annual International Noise Awareness Day. The Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC) founded this yearly event in 1996 to raise awareness of noise where people work, live, and play and encourage them to take action against harmful levels of noise.
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Individuals and organisations should care about unwanted noise especially in the workplace as any sustained and uncontrolled exposure to loud noise is likely to be harmful to hearing. Noise-induced hearing loss is totally preventable with the right control strategy. If you work or operate in a noisy industrial setting, EARDefense Earplugs can help you safeguard the hearing of your employees by ensuring that noise levels do not exceed legal limits.
Too often noise control or monitoring is ignored until it is too late because hearing loss is not a visible condition. Hearing loss is a disability like any other and does affect the quality of life. It can lead to loss of concentration, tension and headaches, discomfort, high blood pressure, insomnia, stress and social isolation.
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So why not support today’s International Noise Awareness Day and take action against harmful levels of noise?
The easiest and quickest way to help deal with Noise Pollution is to buy the best earplugs. Pop along to Amazon now and protect your hearing with EARDefense.uk Earplugs.
Our five senses, sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing are amazing; they help us navigate through the world and allow us to enjoy and savour life – without them, we wouldn’t have made it this far. When one of our senses is damaged, other senses grow stronger to compensate, but for those of us who have lost some or part of a sensual function, these handicaps that can profoundly alter our lives and our perception.
Hearing loss, also known as permanent threshold shift, is “a sudden or gradual permanent shift in the auditory threshold caused by noise exposure, age, disease, or drugs (e.g. did you know that the chemicals in cigarettes are actually linked to hearing loss?). Our world is inundated with noise pollution and it seems that no one is left untouched.
Depending on where you live in Canada, your community of residence will vary in noise levels and some places are better than others. Smaller centres like
Noise pollution affects the quality of our lives. Too much noise pollution is damaging to one’s health and to one’s hearing. But, what can we do about noise pollution?
Saskatoon or Peachland in B.C., enjoy lower-level noise environments, while those of us who live in places like Montreal, Vancouver, or Toronto live with regular noise pollution that seems get louder all the time. Sound pollution in large cities is out of control and living with it can cause noise fatigue.
According to the Noise & Health Journal, “there are at least three ways in which noise may have fatiguing effects. First, noise may contribute to a general over-stimulation. Secondly, monotonous noise has been found to have sleep-provoking effects [i.e. the hum of a vacuum to lull a baby to sleep]. Thirdly, noise may make a task more difficult and tiring to perform.”
The Canadian Hearing Society lists specific ways in which environmental noise (the din of city traffic, jackhammers, crowded restaurants) and noise by choice (loud volume at concerts, movie theatres, etc.) affects humans:
- temporary and/or permanent hearing loss
• tinnitus and/or ear fullness
• communication difficulties
• reduction in performance
• sleep disturbance, fatigue
• increase in blood pressure/hypertension
• gastrointestinal changes
• issues with learning and education
The Hearing Foundation says that hearing loss is one of the most prevalent and chronic conditions that face Canadians. According to Statistics Canada, more than one million adults across the country reported a hearing-related disability, but other studies indicate that the true number may be three million+, as those who suffer from hearing problems often under-report their condition.
For those of us who contend with constant construction, noisy traffic, loud transport trucks, trains, buses, and emergency vehicles in large centres, noise reduction is more than welcome. Noise reduction comes in many forms and caters to specific industries.
Echo Barrier, a global market leader in noise-reduction, says that “by using the latest noise control technology, site noise can be reduced to levels that were only a dream a few years ago.”
To achieve optimum acoustic performance, their sound engineers integrate geometry, mass, and sound absorption into their barriers and have specific systems for noisy situations and activities like construction and demolition sites, road and rail, and music and sporting events. Portable noise barriers are made with dense PVC (vinyl) that absorbs sound waves and are used to surround the source of the noise pollution.
There are commercial benefits to noise reduction, according to Echo Barrier, who state that reduced noise can extend site work hours which reduces operational costs and results in fewer noise complaints, and an enhanced reputation for companies that provide an improved working environment.
For those who live near highways, construction sites, and music venues, sound barriers are priceless, but noise on smaller levels are equally as irritating.
Curing the noisy restaurant
If you’ve had the (dis)pleasure of sitting in a high-ceilinged restaurant or bar with a tile or stone floor, you’ll know what it’s like to sit there with sound waves bouncing off of non-absorbent surfaces with no place to rest. When the décor does not feature absorbent materials in the design, the result can be a loud and unpleasant experience for diners and drinkers. Good interior designers will analyze rooms for sound waves and aesthetics, and offer sound-absorbing solutions.
“Carpets, soft upholstery and curtains do that job in many homes, but none of those things fits with current restaurant aesthetics,” says the Globe and Mail, “Designers end up spraying the ceilings… or installing absorptive material under table tops, where it can’t be seen.”
Kendall & Co. Interior Design and Décor in Toronto agrees. “The solution to refraction of sound waves off of hard surfaces is always textiles,” says founder Kendall MacPherson Williams. “The softer the surface, the more deadening of sound.”
He recommends fabric wallpaper, rugs, dropped ceiling panels, canvas or textile art on the walls to “trap” the sound, and adds that the addition of plants can work to reduce the noise, as well as textured wood used as wall art or a wall surface.
The key for sound reduction is absorption, no matter where you are. Practical solutions like portable PVC panels on your job site, or decorative wood, wall hangings, and pillows in restaurants are completely accessible and effective against excessive noise.
Hearing is precious and unfortunately for many, we don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone. As a person with permanent hearing damage, I sincerely hope that you take this incredible sense seriously and make an effort to defend it from the noise pollution that is such a formidable part of our modern world.
Tinnitus is a term used to describe a ringing noise, buzzing, or perhaps chirping noises in the ears, even when there is no sound present in the environment.
If this applies to you, you are not alone. In fact, it has been estimated that a minimum of 50 million individuals in the United States are affected by some form of tinnitus.
There are a number of factors that can trigger the onset of tinnitus, but damage to the tiny sensory cells located in the inner ear is a common cause. Such damage is often the result of exposure to loud noise or music, and degeneration of the sensory cells is also an unfortunate consequence of the aging process.
Tinnitus has additionally been linked to ear infections, high blood pressure, excessive use of aspirin, treatment with certain antibiotics, consuming large amounts of caffeine and/or alcohol, and even smoking.
Finally, tinnitus can be a symptom of a more serious health issue, and one should be evaluated by a physician to insure a specific medical problem is not present.
Once such medical causes have been ruled out, treatment options are available.
If hearing loss is present, oftentimes simply providing appropriate amplification of sound through the use of hearing aids will result in tinnitus relief.
Recent research suggests when hearing loss is present, the brain creates its own sound to replace what is missing due to hearing impairment. Properly programmed hearing aids can result in sound stimulation, so the brain does not focus as much on the tinnitus.
Sound stimulation can also be achieved through the use of sound therapy, or tinnitus masking, which can take the form of environmental sounds, music, or certain types of noise.
Most of the major hearing aid manufacturers have begun to include noise generators within their hearing aids that can be activated by an audiologist or other hearing health care individual who has been trained in tinnitus management.
Masking noises can be used to decrease the stress often associated with severe tinnitus and are effective in helping people direct their focus away from their tinnitus in quiet or silent environments.
Such sound therapy in combination with stress reduction exercises and educational counseling provide a comprehensive approach to effective tinnitus management.
If you are one of the 50 million persons affected adversely by tinnitus and wish to calm the “ringing beast,” your first step is to seek out a hearing health care practice trained in tinnitus management.
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A professional assessment will be carried out which should include an audiologic evaluation (hearing test), completion of tinnitus questionnaires — measurement of tinnitus pitch, loudness, and other factors — as well as educational counseling and the possible demonstration of hearing aids and tinnitus masking devices.
Based on this comprehensive assessment, a program and recommendations can be developed to meet your specific needs.
There is hope for tinnitus relief, if you are willing to explore available options.
With Workers’ Memorial Day approaching on April 28, CDC researchers noted that hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical injury in the United States.
In study findings published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the researchers stated that workers in the mining sector had the highest prevalence of hearing impairment, followed by the construction and manufacturing industries. They also concluded that hearing loss prevention, early detection and intervention to avoid additional hearing loss, are critical to preserving workers’ quality of life.
“Hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition in the United States, and is more prevalent than diabetes or cancer,” Elizabeth A. Masterson, PhD, of the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and colleagues wrote. “Occupational hearing loss, primarily caused by high noise exposure, is the most common U.S. work-related illness.”
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To determine the prevalence of occupational hearing loss, the researchers examined data from nine U.S. industries, using 1,413,789 noise-exposed worker audiograms from the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Occupational Hearing Loss Surveillance Project. The sample represented 25,908 U.S. companies. The cross-sectional retrospective cohort analysis used the last audiogram completed for each worker during 2003 to 2012.
The researchers estimated hearing loss prevalence at six levels, measured in the worker’s better ear, and the impact on quality of life measured in annual disability-adjusted life years, defined in the 2013 Global Burden of Disease study.
According to the researchers, among all industries, 13% of workers exposed to noise had any hearing impairment, while 2% suffered moderate or worse impairment. The mining industry had the highest prevalence, with 17% experiencing any impairment and 3% with moderate or worse impairment. The construction sector had 16% with any impairment and 3% with moderate or worse impairment, and the manufacturing industry had 14% with any impairment and 2% with moderate or worse impairment. The safety sector, representing police officers and firefighters, had the lowest prevalence, with 7% experiencing any impairment.
“Although lost hearing cannot be recovered, workers can benefit from clinical rehabilitation, which includes fitting hearing aids, learning lip-reading and adopting other compensation strategies to optimize hearing,” Masterson and colleagues wrote. “Study results support beginning rehabilitation at a mild level of hearing impairment. Prevention, and early detection, intervention and rehabilitation, might greatly improve workers’ quality of life.”
– by Jason Laday
(REUTERS) – Brian Johnson Hearing Loss
has admitted in a statement released to press he is “personally crushed” to give up live tours due to his hearing loss.
The 68-year-old rocker wanted to explain to his fans why the band was forced to postpone 10 of its US shows for its Rock Or Bust tour this year and how he came to be replaced by Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose for the rest of their European and American shows.
He was advised by doctors in March that he risked “total deafness” if he continued touring in large live venues. Johnson called it “the darkest day of my professional life”.
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However, he did finish the note by saying he was not going to retire and would continue to record in the studio with the band.