The push to end noise pollution for better health
Ridding the world of excessive noise isn’t an easy task, but it’s one Noise Free America: a Coalition to Promote Quiet is willing to tackle. Their mission is to raise awareness of the negative effects of noise pollution in order to reduce noise in our communities.
Ted Rueter founded Noise Free America in 2001, when he was a professor at UCLA and living in Los Angeles. Today the organization has more than 50 local chapters in 25 states, each with the mission of educating the public about noise pollution.
Why does noise pollution matter?
Excessive noise causes hearing loss and negatively impacts health. Organizations such as the World Health Organization, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and U.S. Census Bureau have identified noise pollution as a real and present danger to human health and well being. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), as many as 26 million Americans have high frequency hearing loss likely caused by exposure to excessive noise.
In addition to hearing loss, excessive noise is linked to tinnitus, sleep deprivation, cardiovascular disease and an increased risk of mental illness. A recent scientific literature review published in European Cardiology Review concluded there is a connection between exposure to everyday transportation noise and high blood pressure. Further, it determined that noise pollution should be considered as a new risk factor for cardiovascular disease. A German study published in 2016 found depression and anxiety increased as annoyance from noise increased.
Noise Free America believes the answer to this problem is for each state to adopt a comprehensive noise code which regulates the decibel (dB) levels on everything from noisy cars and lawn equipment to barking dogs, construction, trash removal and recreational vehicles. Their legislative agenda is outlined on the website.
Do your part
The effort to reduce noise pollution begins in local communities with residents who are committed to resolving the problem. Here’s how you can help: