Have you ever been out enjoying a lovely fall day only to have it ruined by loud and unwanted noise? This is called noise pollution, and this time of the year leaf blowers are often the culprits.
Understanding Noise Pollution
As defined by the Environmental Protection Agency, unwanted or disturbing sound that interferes with normal activities or your quality of life is known as noise pollution. These unwanted sounds are just as dangerous as the pollution we can see in the air and water, as loud noises have a number of serious health effects. Problems related to noise include:
- Stress related illnesses
- High blood pressure
- Speech interference
- Hearing loss
- Sleep disturbance
- Lost productivity
The most common health effect is noise induced hearing loss.
Noise Pollution Research
Erica Walker, a doctoral student at Harvard University’s Chan School of Public Health was interested in presenting a new way of looking at noise. Along with her research partners, they compiled The 2016 Greater Boston Noise Report. The report focused on four main topics:
- Sound mapping
- Noise survey results
- Neighborhood noise report card
- Community sound portraits and urban sound bites
They surveyed 1,050 residents throughout Boston area neighborhoods and found that 79% believed that no one cared if the noise they were producing bothered them. She identified the contributors to noise pollution, which include airplanes, buses, trains, loud talkers, barking dogs, blaring music and the major culprit — leaf blowers.
Leaf Blower Decibels
Some of the most powerful models of leaf blowers can produce air that exceeds 200 mph and sounds as high as 112 decibels. Exposure to sounds over 110 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss in just one minute.
How to Protect Yourself
Many cities and towns have rules and regulations in place to protect the ears of their citizens. Some have laws banning or restricting the use of leaf blowers while others have noise ordinances in place to restrict how much noise you can produce.
Wearing hearing protection can help keep your ears safe if you are unable to avoid the source of the noise.
The best way to clear your yard of leaves this fall without sacrificing your hearing health? Use a rake. To learn more about protecting your hearing or to schedule an appointment with a professional, contact Total Hearing Care of Dallas today.