You and your family wake every morning for months to the incessant and aggressive noise of a jackhammer breaking ground outside your home’s windows. You wrap a pillow around your head, covering your ears, with the hope of dulling the sound and eventually falling back asleep. This is the only defensive measure you take to protect yourself from the noise. Now imagine, a year later, an intermittent ringing and buzzing sensation in your ear that you cannot elude, one that is so irksome that you begin to deem yourself insane as no one else can attest to the sound. This condition, called Tinnitus, is real and it is one of the many potential consequences of prolonged exposure to loud noise. While this is, no doubt, a worst case scenario, you will want to protect yourself and your loved ones from this condition as well as other detrimental and long-lasting effects of harmful sound. Follow these tips to learn how you can be proactive in guarding your family against distraction, headache, hearing loss, and more.
Know What You’re Up Against
Before you can begin protecting your home from noise, you must first recognize how excessive noise can pose a threat to your home. There are two kinds of health effects caused by exposure to noise, they are auditory effects and non-auditory effects. Auditory effects include hearing impairment, while non-auditory effects involve stress, and other related physiological issues. The severity of the risks posed to the members of your family may vary depending on the ages of the individuals. For parents and grandparents, the greatest risks may be hypertension and cardiovascular disease. For children, excessive noise can interfere with learning, as it may eventually affect language and speech. The effects on newborns can also be severe, as prolonged loud noise can prevent proper cochlea development and permanently impair hearing. Understanding how your ears work, can help you to protect them.
Identify Harmful Sound
Hearing protection is required by OSHA at a level of 90 decibels. Let’s put that into perspective. The Apollo lift-off was estimated to register 188 decibels of sound, while a chainsaw is not too far off at 118. Workers exposed to loud noise are instructed by legislation to protect themselves from noise-induced health effects. If you are exposed to similar sounds while in your home, you too will want to safeguard your family from auditory danger. According to the Noise Thermometer, lawnmowers, motorcycles, overhead aircrafts, and fireworks are all household noises that can cause damage.
While you aren’t expected to pull a Baylen Brees (1-year-old son of Saints quarterback, Drew Brees) and rock noise-cancelling earmuffs, you may want to take other measures to protect the precious ears in your home. One of the best ways to keep excessive noise out of your household is to soundproof the windows. Window Soundproofing is an ideal solution as it virtually eliminates the issue by suppressing the vast majority of unwanted noise. Another viable solution to noise pollution outside of your home is to –believe it or not- plant trees. Trees can serve as noise buffers, reducing noise up to 10 decibels. You’ll want to do your research first on which plants are most effective in suppressing sound. Finally, communicate! Talk to whoever is causing the noise about how it is affecting your home so that together you can create a solution that works for both parties.