There is much concentration today on pollution and its effects on the human body. Most of the pollution concerns are with environmental chemicals. There is a pollutant that most people do not consider, and this is noise. Unfortunately noise pollution and air pollution may be found together. People who live near busy traffic, airports, and industrial areas are more likely to be exposed to both noise pollution and air pollution. The duration, level, and frequency of noise determine its effects.
It is thought that at least 100 million people in the US are exposed to unhealthy levels of noise. This noise can come from many sources including automobile and aircraft traffic, leaf blowers,
lawnmowers, chain saws, sports events, target shooting, woodworking tools, and even loud music of all kinds. Children’s toys that squeak and battery operated toys can pose a risk. Federal laws protect workers, but no laws control the amount of noise received outside the work place. Nighttime noise can interfere with sleep, but it is not known just how much noise can be reasonably tolerated. What is known is that excess noise is a serious risk factor for health.
Noise can increase the risk of serious health problems including hearing loss. Hearing loss is a problem with which many people are concerned. A test that you can perform is to hold your fingers 3 to 4 inches away from your ear and rub them against your thumb. Check each ear. If you cannot hear your fingers rubbing together you should have a physician check your hearing.