Noise Pollution - A Serious Cause For Hearing Loss?

A word noise pollution is not new for anyone. In fact, it is a common problem among people, especially for those who live in metropolitan cities. Noise pollution is defined as a sound which is unwanted and gets dumped into the atmosphere without regard to its adverse effects.

Noise pollution is considered to be an annoyance to human beings and from the past many years, the intensity and frequency of noise pollution are increasing at a fast rate. Noise pollution can have a significant impact on the health of humans. According to the World Health Organisation, the effects of noise pollution can be categorized into various categories such as:

  • Hearing impairment
  • Negative social behavior and annoyance
  • Interference with spoken communication
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Problems with mental health
  • Impaired task performance

The effects of noise pollution vary to a great extent from one person to another. There are many different sources of noise pollution and some of the most common include vehicular traffic, television and music system, electricity generating systems, and railways and air traffic.

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Noise pollution is a growing problem which is spreading widely, yet it is often left unnoticed. It can have a significant impact on the health of a person. It can cause several health hazards. Multiple studies have been conducted to investigate the effects of noise pollution on the hearing power of a person. The sensitivity to sound is different for every individual, therefore the effect of noise pollution varies from person to person. There are various different systems to measure sound and most often it is measured in decibel (dB).

It is generally believed that exposure to sound levels less than 70 dB does not cause any hearing damage, no matter what is the duration of the exposure. But an exposure to sound levels of more than 85 dB for more than eight hours is highly hazardous for the hearing power of a person. When the exposure to sound level is above 85bB, it causes a significant impact on the hearing power of a person, exposure time does not matter.

Primarily, noise pollution causes hearing problems accompanied by tinnitus and paracusis. Tinnitus is an ear disorder which is characterized by the abnormal sound or ringing in the ear. The abnormal sound can sound like hissing, buzzing, or clicking. Tinnitus is a serious disorder which interferes with the ability of a person to hear, work, and to perform daily activities.

Most often, tinnitus occurs due to the damage caused to the auditory system or hearing system. This damage to the auditory system could be due to noise pollution. The severity of tinnitus may vary from mild to severe. The severe form of tinnitus causes symptoms like hearing loss, dizziness, head injury, sinus, and middle ear infection. On the other hand, mild tinnitus can cause symptoms like hearing loss, dizziness, migraine, and meningitis.

According to research, people who work in a noisy environment such as the factory, construction, and musicians are more likely to experience tinnitus. The continuous exposure to noise can cause damage to tiny sensory hair cells in the inner ear that helps to transmit sound to the brain.

Paracusis is another disorder which is commonly associated with noise pollution. It is defined as a disturbance or impairment of hearing. People having paracusis has the ability to hear better in a noisy atmosphere and this is because people generally speak louder in a noisy environment. It is a characteristic feature of the patient having conductive hearing loss. Noise pollution can cause damage to the nerves in the ear that play a part in transmitting sound.