Have you ever felt a ringing in your ears after attending a concert or been unable to sleep because of a party outside your window? If so, you may have experienced the effects of noise pollution. While many of us understand the dangers of noise pollution, we may need to realize how it affects our hearing. Here we delve into the impact of noise pollution on your hearing, UK laws surrounding noise, and what you can do to protect your hearing.
Common Sources of Noise Pollution
London is a bustling city home to millions of people, and with that comes significant noise pollution. Here are some of the most common sources of noise pollution:
Traffic: London’s busy roads can produce high noise levels, especially during rush hour. The sound of car engines, horns, and sirens can all contribute to noise pollution in the city.
Aircraft: The noise from aircraft taking off and landing around Heathrow, Gatwick, and London City Airport can cause a disturbance to people living nearby.
Construction: London is a constantly evolving city, and as a result, a significant amount of construction activity is taking place. Construction sites can produce high noise levels, impacting people living and working in the surrounding areas.
Entertainment venues: While these venues are great for the city’s economy, they can produce dangerously loud noise levels, which can cause hearing damage to attendees and people living nearby.
Railways: The sound of trains passing through stations and on tracks can cause noise pollution for people living and working near railway lines.
Public transport: The sound of buses and taxis passing by can be disruptive to people living and working near busy roads.
The Impact of Noise Pollution
Noise pollution is a serious and growing danger to public health, according to researchers and clinicians. Noise from sources such as airplanes, leaf blowers, air conditioners, construction equipment, and street traffic not only causes hearing loss, tinnitus, and hypersensitivity to sound, but can also cause or exacerbate cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep disturbances, stress, mental health and cognition problems, childhood learning delays, and low birth weight.
When you’re exposed to loud noise, it can cause damage to the hair cells in your inner ear. These hair cells are responsible for transmitting sound signals to your brain. Once damaged, these hair cells cannot regenerate, leading to permanent hearing loss. You may initially experience temporary hearing loss, but the damage becomes permanent with prolonged exposure.
UK Laws Surrounding Noise Pollution
The UK government has set laws and regulations to protect citizens from noise pollution. The Environmental Protection Act of 1990 is one of the primary regulations for noise pollution. This act outlines the responsibilities of local authorities to investigate and take action on noise complaints.
Additionally, The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 outlines the legal requirements for employers to protect their employees from excessive noise in the workplace. Employers must provide workers with personal protective equipment, such as earplugs and earmuffs, to reduce noise exposure.
If you’re experiencing noise pollution, you can take action by contacting your local council. They will investigate your complaint and make the necessary effort to reduce the noise levels. If the noise pollution persists, you can take legal action against the person or organization responsible.
Protecting Your Hearing
If you suspect that you have hearing loss caused by noise pollution, it is crucial to seek professional help. We are experts in hearing care at Sound Hearing, and our audiologists can help you with your hearing loss concerns.
The best treatment for hearing loss caused by noise pollution is hearing aids. Modern hearing aids are advanced devices that can help you hear better and improve your quality of life. Hearing aids amplify sound and direct it into the ear canal, compensating for the damaged hair cells’ inability to transmit sound signals to your brain.
While hearing aids can’t cure hearing loss caused by noise pollution, they can improve your hearing and quality of life. At Sound Hearing, we offer a wide range of hearing aids to suit your needs and preferences. Our audiologists will conduct a hearing test to determine the severity of your hearing loss and recommend the right hearing treatment for you.