Noise is an unwanted sound. It’s ear pollution.
Too much noise for long periods of time (or certain types of noise for short periods of time) can cause loss of hearing.
Excessive noise is a leading cause of hearing loss.
Today many New Zealanders have significant hearing loss. Many more are exposed to noise levels at home and at work that may permanently damage their hearing.
Your hearing is vital for
Some people are more sensitive to noise than others but everyone is affected by excessive noise to some degree. This can depend on:
The most annoying noise is high-pitched, loud and irregular or on-and-off. But all kinds of excess noise eventually cause hearing damage.
If you have to raise your voice to be heard by someone less than 60 centimetres (two feet) away, you are in a noisy area and should be wearing a protective device.
Hearing loss caused by noise raises your “hearing threshold” — the degree of loudness at which you first begin to hear.
Apart from hearing loss there are many other effects of excessive noise.
Speech interference: In an extra-noisy environment it’s hard to hear people talk – and that’s a safety hazard in itself.
Annoyance: Unpleasant sounds, particularly sudden and uneven ones, may cause fear, anger and emotional wear and tear.
Inefficiency: Noise may cause fatigue or distract attention from demanding or difficult tasks.
These all add up to good reasons for practising hearing conservation.
Don’t people in noisy environments just get used to the racket? If, after long exposure to excess noise, you stop hearing it -- it’s because you’ve become deaf!