Are YOU Going Deaf? FYI- there are recommended community limits to noise exposure -70dBa. The level is set as the maximum our ears can take without causing damage. Hearing health has deteriorated especially in cities with mass transit – we are going deaf!
To give you a few references silence is 0dBa, while normal conversation is 60dBa and a car horn is 110dBa. As you read on think about about the time interval(s) that we are exposed to these ‘deafening’ sounds levels.
So what are commuters in cities w rapid transit exposed to? The following are the degree of noise as measured in decibels (dBa) noted on specific mass transit travel modes*:
NYC buses – 75.7dBA
Long Island RR – 76.7dBa
Metro North RR – 75.1 dBa
Ferries – 75.3 dBa
Trams – 77.0 dBa
Subways are not the only sources of loud noise to commuters. Many use MPs players ear plugs dialed up to drown out external noise on their commutes and result in increasing damage.
Exposure to high decibels (levels greater >70dBa) creates a cumulative damage to hearing. Yesterdays damage is with you as you are repeatedly exposed. Subways are not the only sources of loud noise to commuters. On top of chronic commuting noise, sporadic nuisance noise exposure to horns, sirens car alarms contributes negatively and compounds the problem!
If you go to a music venue or worst play in a band and not wear protection your hearing will definitely suffer. Yes even attendance at sporting events results in high damaging decibel exposure. Think about the ear protection used in shooting ranges that is for a very good reason. Certain workplace settings include mandatory usage of protection gear – wearing earplugs.
Recall the upper limit of noise exposure is 70 dBa. There are over 200 million people worldwide with irreversible noise-induced hearing loss (NIHI). High noise exposure is known to be associated with a wide range of illness such as hypertension, heart disease, and stress hormone disruptions, poor sleep quality and decrease learning and concentration.
Excessive exposure obviously impact hearing – – yes deafness! So please use hearing protection on your commute not to will warm your hearing!
* Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, Vol. 90 No. 2doi:10.1007/s11524-012-9734-2