The Effects of Living in a Noisy World
- 1999 WHO declared noise induced hearing impairment most prevalent irreversible occupational hazard
- U.S., 30 million workers exposed to hazardous sound levels
- Secondhand noise is equivalent to secondhand smoke
- Non auditory effects: elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, loss of sleep, change in brain chemistry, cardiovascular constriction, and labored breathing
- U.S. Noise Control Act (1972): Allows EPA to set noise limits
Because of the high rates of hearing loss, the WHO declared noise induced hearing loss as the most prevalent irreversible occupational hazard in 1999. As of today, 30 million workers in the U.S. are exposed to dangerous sound levels. Secondhand noise in some cases, been compared to secondhand smoke. Hazardous levels of sound do not only affect the ears, they also have non auditory effects. Elevated blood pressure, loss of sleep, changes in the brain's chemistry, cardiovascular constriction, labored breathing, and increased heart rate are among the issues associated with high noise levels. In order to protect the health of citizens, the U.S. Noise Control Act of 1972 was put in place to allow the EPA to set legal noise limits to prevent people from going deaf.
Losing my hearing is a scary reoccurring thought that I have. It makes me more aware of how high I turn up my volume in my headphones as well as be more aware of the places I go in general. This article has increased my caution regarding my hearing, because I want to maintain my health to ensure a long fruitful life. What interests me though is the development of non-ear damaging appliances/equipment. After all these years of people losing their hearing on the job, you would think that companies would be looking into developing safer equipment for their employees. All in all, the goal is not to cut out all of the noise in the world, which is impossible, but to improve the safety of everyone.