Noise pollution is often ignored as its impact, unlike air and water pollution, is not immediate; but noise can be a “slow killer” and noise-induced hearing loss, according to experts, is permanent although it is preventable.
Noise is one of the leading causes of hearing loss as it reduces hearing capability and the consequences of exposure to noise include stress and nervousness; reduced quality of sleep and degraded performance, according to Mysore-based All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH).
Among the sources of noise, the most common are vehicular traffic noise and occupational noise. The others include going to video arcades, gyms, night clubs or concerts, shooting/firearms or listening to music too loud and for too long. Certain types and levels of noise and their duration of exposure are important factors in deciding the type and extent of their adverse effects. Also, some people are susceptible to the adverse effects of noise.
Noise is loud if one has to raise his/her voice to talk to someone who is at arm’s length away. If the noise is such that the ears are ringing or sounds seem dull or flat after leaving a noisy place, then the noise is hazardous. It has been agreed upon by experts that continuous exposure to noise above 85 dBA for a duration of eight hours a day, will eventually harm hearing. In general, the louder the noise, the lesser is the time that is required before hearing gets affected. It not only affects human beings but also animals.