Dealing with Noise Pollution in Your Neighborhood

Dealing with Noise Pollution in Your Neighborhood

Do you wake up to the sound of a barking dog, music blasting from the apartment next door, or the sound or early morning traffic? Noise pollution is all around us. And all this noise affects both your physical and mental health.

Sources of Noise Pollution in Your Neighborhood

Unless you live in a small town or in the countryside, you’re no stranger to noise pollution. Background noise is around you all the time, from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. And if you live on a busy road or near an airport, noise pollution may even continue during the night.

The World Health Organization defines noise pollution as noise that “seriously harms human health and interferes with people’s daily activities at school, at work, at home and during leisure time. It can disturb sleep, cause cardiovascular and psychophysiological effects, reduce performance and provoke annoyance responses and changes in social behavior.”

Some of the most common sources of noise pollution in your neighborhood include:

  • – Traffic noise
  • – Loud music from passing cars
  • – Emergency sirens
  • – A lawn mower
  • – Sound from a nearby construction site
  • – Sound from a nearby concert hall or sports stadium
  • – An airplane overhead

Indoor sources of noise pollution can include:

  • – Shouting kids
  • – The TV blaring
  • – Loud music
  • – The vacuum cleaner
  • – The noisy air conditioner or dishwasher

These are just some of the sounds you hear every day. Can you think of any more sounds that contribute to your neighborhood noise pollution?

How Excessive Noise Is Harmful

All this background sound may seem like just an annoyance, but noise pollution can actually be very harmful. 

Hearing loss: One of the biggest risks from noise pollution is hearing loss. The constant sounds may not seem so loud, but because your ears never get a rest, you have a higher risk of developing noise induced hearing loss.

Poor sleep: Another consequence of noise pollution is poor sleep. All the extra racket during the day makes you more stressed and you’ll have a harder time getting to sleep at night. And if your neighborhood is noisy through the night, this noise could be waking you up during the night and affecting the quality of your sleep.

Negative physical outcomes: According to one recent study, noise pollution can affect your physical health in a number of ways. The constant noise increases your risk of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, reduced immune system function, endocrine disruption, reduced productivity, and difficulty learning.

Negative mental health outcomes: Noise pollution also affects your mental health. Have you noticed that you get irritated easily? The constant noise in your environment adds to your overall stress levels and poor sleep makes you chronically tired. Noise pollution can contribute to stress, anxiety, irritation, and even depression.

How to Deal with Noise Pollution

Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself from the harmful effects of noise pollution. Start by turning down the volume or your TV or radio so that the inside of your home isn’t another source of noise pollution. Also turn down the volume on your personal listening device whether you’re listening at home, at work, or on the commute. Turning the volume up past 60% to drown out noise pollution can actually lead to hearing loss!

To deal with noise pollution, use area rugs or carpets in your home to absorb sounds and make it softer in the house. It’s also a good idea to put up a fence around your yard and plant trees, since this can block some of the neighborhood noise. You can also invest in quieter home appliances, a quiet vacuum cleaner, and quieter gardening equipment. 

Protecting Your Hearing

As well as reducing your exposure to noise pollution, make sure you’re protecting your hearing. Whenever you’re in a very noisy environment, pop in a pair of foam or wax earplugs to reduce the volume of the sound. Some places where you should protect your hearing include:

  • – Noisy bus or subway car
  • – Loud concert
  • – Sports game
  • – When riding a motorcycle
  • – When driving a boat
  • – When mowing the lawn or using a leaf blower
  • – When operating power tools

It’s important to deal with noise pollution in your neighborhood and create a peaceful and quiet environment in your home to give your ears a chance to rest.

If you are interested in learning more about custom hearing protection, contact us today! We can give you more information on the best ways to protect your hearing. 

How Hearing Aids Can Change Your Life

How Hearing Aids Can Change Your Life

The last thing you want to think about is hearing loss, but you’ve been having a hard time following conversations, and the other day your spouse had to repeat themselves again. For active and young 60-year-olds, it’s hard to talk about hearing loss, or admit that your ears aren’t picking up sounds as well as they used to. The good news is that modern hearing aids can change your life.

The Early Signs of Hearing Loss

John was in his late 50s when he started noticing the first signs of hearing loss. He’d spent most of his adult life on construction sites working around heavy machinery, so he was around noise all the time. This is probably what caused his hearing loss.

His hearing loss became more noticeable when he started asking his wife to repeat what she’d said in almost every conversation. John also had a harder time hearing the TV and talking on the phone. But he didn’t want to consider hearing aids. After all, he thought hearing aids were only for seniors, and he definitely wasn’t old.

Life Changes When You Have Hearing Loss

Over the next couple years, John’s hearing loss slowly grew worse. He started ignoring the phone when it was ringing since he couldn’t hear clearly. His wife stopped watching TV with him and complained the volume was too loud. After he retired, John started spending more and more time at home. It was hard to enjoy social events when he couldn’t follow conversations, so he made up excuses to stay home. He felt embarrassed if he had to ask people to repeat themselves, and he didn’t want his wife to have to nudge him every time he said the wrong thing. Soon he started feeling isolated and alone.

Missed Opportunities

It wasn’t until 4 years later that John realized what he was missing. He was in the backyard with his grandchildren when his granddaughter ran up to him and started telling him something. He could tell from her smile and her facial expression she was excited, but he just couldn’t understand what she was saying. The next day he made an appointment for a hearing test.

Stylish Hearing Aids

John didn’t want to think about hearing aids. After all, he was imagining they’d be clunky and large, and stick out behind the ear where everyone would see them. But when the hearing test showed he had moderate hearing loss, he decided it was time to look at hearing aids. What he saw surprised him!

Modern hearing aids are small and stylish, and they’re not an eyesore. Behind-the-Ear hearing aids are curved to match the ear, and they sit discreetly behind the ear. Some hearing aids are In-the-Ear or In-the-Canal, and these hearing aids are almost impossible to spot.

Hearing Made Easy

When John first tried on his new hearing aids, he was amazed at what he could hear. It took about a week to adjust to the new sounds, but after that he couldn’t imagine his life without hearing aids. He could follow conversations, and he stopped asking his wife to repeat herself. He enjoyed talking on the phone and he turned down the volume on the TV. He could even hear conversations when they went out for dinner with friends!

Not only that, but he could hear soft sounds he didn’t even know he was missing. He could hear the neighbor kids playing next door for the first time in years, and even hear the squeaking of the pantry door.

Being More Social

With his new hearing aids, John started spending more time out of the house. But almost no one noticed he was wearing hearing aids. His friends were glad he was being more social and they noticed he didn’t ask people to repeat themselves. But unless he pointed out his hearing aids, no one even seemed to realize he was wearing them. 

Seeking Treatment for Hearing Loss

Have you been putting off getting hearing aids? Do you think you don’t need hearing aids, or are you worried that hearing aids won’t look good? The best way to learn about your hearing health is by scheduling a hearing test. Find out what sounds you’re missing, then explore your hearing aid options. Our team of hearing health specialists will help you choose the right hearing aids to match your hearing needs and your life.

How Treating Hearing Loss Supports Your Brain

How Treating Hearing Loss Supports Your Brain

Did you know that 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 have a hearing loss? That number grows to 1 in 2 people over the age of 75! Hearing loss is an inconvenience and frustration for many. Hearing loss makes it hard to follow conversations, enjoy watching TV, or hear during concerts or religious services. Not only that, but hearing loss also affects the brain in some surprising ways.

Hearing Loss Is Linked to Dementia

Hearing loss makes it harder to have a laugh with friends, but hearing loss does a lot more than make your dinner parties difficult. Hearing loss has a major impact on the brain. In fact, a recent study found that older adults with hearing loss are far more likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease than adults who can hear clearly.

Adults with moderate hearing loss are more likely than their hearing peers to have a dementia diagnosis. And adults with severe hearing loss are much more likely to develop dementia.

Hearing Loss and the Brain

But why is hearing loss linked to dementia? It’s because hearing loss has a big impact on the brain. Hearing doesn’t just happen in your ears. A lot of your hearing actually happens in the brain. That’s why untreated hearing loss is very damaging for your brain in a number of ways. Older adults with hearing loss experience rapid cognitive decline, have a hard time doing cognitive tasks, and even have more cell loss and brain shrinkage.

Auditory Deprivation from Hearing Loss

When you live with untreated hearing loss, your brain experiences auditory deprivation. This means that your brain is deprived of certain sounds. When your ears can’t pick up on all the sounds around you, they don’t send signals about these sounds to your brain. The brain experiences auditory deprivation, since lots of sounds in your natural hearing range aren’t making it to your brain anymore. 

After some time without hearing certain sounds, the brain cells in the auditory region start to atrophy or die, shrinking the auditory centers in the brain. In fact, parts of the auditory regions in the brain even get reassigned to other sensory systems, such as vision. When this happens, you’ll discover that the rule “use it or lose it” applies to your hearing as well. After prolonged auditory deprivation, you’ll lose those brain cells, and even when you finally treat your hearing loss, you may never regain the ability to hear those sounds.

How Treating Hearing Loss Supports Your Brain

The good news is that there’s a simple thing you can do to support your brain. Just treat your hearing loss! Wearing hearing aids helps the cells in your ear pick up more of the sounds around you. More signals will get sent to your brain, and you won’t need to worry about auditory deprivation. When you treat your hearing loss, you’ll have an easy time hearing conversations, hearing speech even in noisy environments, and hearing all the soft sounds around you.

Slowing Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline

Another way hearing aids can support your brain is by slowing hearing loss. When you wear quality hearing aids that reduce auditory deprivation, your brain will hear more of the sounds around you. This keeps your ears and brain healthier and can slow hearing loss.

Treating hearing loss also supports your brain by slowing the rate of cognitive decline. People who treat their hearing loss with hearing aids are less likely to develop dementia than those who don’t treat their hearing loss.

Early Treatment of Hearing Loss

To support brain health, prioritize your hearing health! As soon as you notice any changes in your hearing, schedule a hearing test to discover exactly what sounds you’re missing. We recommend that adults over 50 have a hearing test every 2 to 3 years, and adults over 60 get their hearing tested every 1 to 2 years. 

If you have hearing loss, find the hearing aids that help you hear. This supports your brain before you notice any auditory deprivation. It will take you a few weeks to adjust to your new devices, but once you’re used to wearing hearing aids, these devices will keep your ears and your brain healthy.