How to reduce noise pollution at home
Fireworks, construction works and aeroplane traffic are some of the obvious offenders when it comes to noise pollution. But you may be surprised to learn how many potentially damaging sounds you’re exposed to at home on a daily basis. Once that damage is done to your hearing, there’s no way to reverse it. That’s why in this blog we’ll explore what’s too loud for healthy hearing and how to reduce noise pollution at home.
How loud is too loud?
When experts talk about noise pollution, they refer to decibels (dB) of sound. Anything less than 85 dB is generally considered an acceptable noise level though the closer you get to this cut-off point, the more at risk you put yourself; while anything above 85 dB can permanently damage your hearing. But what does that translate to in everyday terms?
A normal conversation comes in at around 60 dB. The blender in your kitchen can be as noisy as 85 dB, which is already in the danger zone for hearing damage. The sound of your lawnmower is at around 90 dB, as is a pneumatic drill. Music at a nightclub can go to 110 dB or higher, while fireworks come in at 120 dB.
What’s the damage?
The effects of noise pollution are multiple, from disturbed sleep resulting in fatigue, to cardiovascular problems as a result of stress. When it comes to your ears, exposure to one-off or persistent loud noises can damage the sensitive cells within your inner ear called hair cells, which are essential for healthy hearing. Once damaged or destroyed, they cannot be replaced. Noise-induced hearing loss can occur in those with normal hearing and in those who already have hearing loss or tinnitus, exacerbating their hearing condition.
Now you know just what dangerously loud noises can do to your hearing, here are some tips to protect yourself from noise pollution at home:
Closing windows, putting up fences and planting shrubs and trees around your house all help block out neighbouring sounds.
Installing acoustic wall panels will significantly reduce noise travelling from room to room. Even small changes like hanging up canvas paintings on your walls will reduce noise levels, as will laying down carpets and rugs. Doorways present a natural opening for noise to leak through, so consider installing solid wood doors which are better at blocking out sound.
If you’re using power tools, a lawnmower or even a vacuum cleaner at home, pop on a pair of ear defenders or earplugs to reduce the decibels of sound passing into your ears.
Be wary of how high you’re turning the volume up on the TV or radio — if you can’t clearly hear someone standing 2 metres away from you, the volume is up too high.
Get your hearing tested regularly to make sure any hearing loss is picked up on early. This will ensure you can get the support you need to hear more clearly.
At London Hearing Specialist, your hearing clinic in London, our dedicated audiologist Anshul Morjaria is waiting to provide you with the bespoke hearing care you need, so get in touch today to book your appointment!