Loud city noise has been proven to be hazardous to our hearing and health. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau says that Americans cite noise as the biggest problem affecting their neighborhoods – even more than crime. Some 138 million people are regularly exposed to noise levels labeled as excessive by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Safe noise levels, as deemed by hearing professionals, are those below 85 decibels (dB). Most city noise emitted in urban surroundings, such as city traffic, the wails of sirens, and honking of the cars, are at least 100 dB and up.
Prolonged exposure to that level of sound damages not only hearing, but is also linked to onset of health ailments such as stress, ischemic heart disease, increase in blood pressure, and a change in heart rhythm, among many others.
Scientists researching the effects of urban noise on human health suggest that planting of trees in inner cities may lessen the effect of harmful noise by five to 10 dB. Listening to soft music through noise-cancellation headphones may also have a protective effect, studies show.
To learn more about the effects of urban noise and how to protect yourself, visit: Quiet Please: Urban Noise Hurts Ears, Health