Hello to you. Nothing much special to share today. I hope this finds you well and what I’ve collected here is something you needed to see. This is something I’ve noticed going on for quite some time.
Noise (62) Pollution (134) = 196 Decibels = 59 Deafness = 73 = 328 Noise (62) Ordinance (83) = 145
328 + 145 = 473/14/5
328 – 145 = 183/12/3 cycle
HEARING LOSS & TINNITUS STATISTICS
From 2000 to 2015, the number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled.
Globally the number is up by 44%.
- 48 million people in America1 and ~360 million worldwide
- 1 in 5 teens
- 1 in 5 adults
- 3 in 5 of returning military service members
- Hearing loss and tinnitus are the top two reported health concerns among service members both active and veterans.
- Hearing loss is the 2nd most prevalent health issue globally
- The number of people with hearing loss is more than those living with Parkinson’s, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes combined.
- Tinnitus (ringing/buzzing in ears) affects ~10% of Americans on a regular basis
- 25 million American adults report experiencing tinnitus for five or more continuous minutes in the past year
- 16 million people seek medical attention for tinnitus
- Roughly 90 percent of tinnitus cases occur with an underlying hearing loss1
- Causes of Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
- Genetic factors
- Ototoxic medications (medicine-induced hearing loss)
- Viral or bacterial infections
Why is the number of people with hearing loss increasing?
1. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
People are exposed to dangerous noise levels at work or during leisure activities
- 26 million people in U.S. between ages 20-69 have hearing loss
- 20% of teens ages 12-19 have reported hearing loss due to loud noise
- 30 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels
2. Age-Related Hearing Loss
The population of people age 65+ is expanding… rapidly
- 33% of Americans between ages 65-74 and nearly 50% of those 75+ have hearing loss
- Hearing loss has been associated with cognitive decline, dementia, depression, hospitalization, and heart disease, among other diseases and conditions1
3. Economic Impact Associated With Hearing Loss
- Lifetime costs of untreated profound hearing loss can be as much as $1 million per person in the U.S.
- Arch Intern Med. Nov 14, 2011. Hearing Loss Prevalence in the United States: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3564588/
- JAMA: August 18, 2010. Change in Prevalence of Hearing Loss in US Adolescents:http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=186427
- Interview with the executive director of DoD’s Hearing Center of Excellence:http://online.qmags.com/HH1012?fs=2&pg=20&mode=2#pg20&mode2
- Bulletin of the World Health Organization. May 1, 2014. The global burden of disabling hearing impairment: a call to action:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4007124/
- NIDCD Fact Sheet: Noise-Induced Hearing Loss: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/noise.aspx
- Administration on Aging. A profile of older Americans: 2010:http://www.aoa.gov/Aging_Statistics/Profile/2011/docs/2011profile.pdf
- 1993 study by the Marion Downs Center
- Better Hearing Institute, May 2007
- Cognitive decline: Paper: “Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline in Older Adults.” JAMA Internal Medicine, Feb. 25, 2013.
- NIDCD: nih.gov/health/statistics/Pages/quick.aspx
- From the chapter “The Epidemiology of Tinnitus” in the book “Tinnitus: Theory and Management” (PMPH USA, 2004).
- Article: “Diagnosing Tinnitus.” Hearing Health, Summer 2013.org/diagnosing_tinnitus
Noise pollution is an unwanted or disturbing sound which can interfere with normal activities for humans and wildlife, such as sleeping, conversation, reproduction, communication, or disrupt or diminish one’s quality of life. Noise pollution can come from many sources, such as automobiles, motorcycles, aircraft, ships, trucks, buses, jet planes, construction equipment, electrical machinery, lawn mowers and leaf blowers, to name a few. Excessive noise pollution, from the city streets to the oceans’ commercial shipping traffic, can have harmful effects on the humans, plants, animals, trees and marine life constantly exposed to it. Long-term exposure to traffic noise may lead to coronary heart disease and accounts for approximately 210,000 deaths in Europe each year.
Effects of Noise Pollution
Human Health and Welfare
According to the World Health Organization, excessive noise 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, cause heart attacks, reduce performance and provoke annoyance responses and changes in social behaviour. The overlooked threat of noise pollution can cause a number of short- and long-term health problems, such as sleep disturbance, cardiovascular effects, poorer work and school performance, hearing impairment and more. Even low-level office noise can increase health risks and lower task motivation for workers, according to Cornell researchers. Children, night workers, those who cannot afford to live in quiet residential areas, chronically ill and elderly people are more vulnerable to noise. Noise pollution at night can lead to an increase in medical visits and spending on sleeping pills, which affects families’ budgets and countries’ health expenditure. According to the WHO, impairment of early childhood development and education caused by noise may have lifelong effects on academic achievement and health. Noise pollution can even lead to deaths from heart disease.
Studies and statistics on the effects of chronic exposure to aircraft noise on children have found consistent evidence that noise exposure harms cognitive performance, consistent association with impaired well-being and motivation to a slightly more limited extent and moderate evidence of effects on blood pressure and catecholamine hormone secretion.
Plants and Trees
Human noise can have ripple effects on long-lived plants and trees that can last for decades even after the sources of noise subside. Many plants and trees rely on birds and other animals to deliver pollen from one flower or tree to the next, or to disperse their seeds, but many animals are adapting to the noise by changing their behavior or moving to quieter locales. Consequently, noise pollution is altering the landscape of plants and trees, which depend on noise-affected animals to pollinate them and spread their seeds. Some plants do worse in noisy areas while others seem to do better, depending on how the community of creatures around them changes. The ripple effects can be far reaching and long lasting, especially for trees, which often take decades to grow from seedlings into adults. Learn more.
Benefits include hummingbirds preferring noisy sites because the western scrub jay, which preys on their nestlings, tends to avoid those noisy areas which increases the pollen transfer of hummingbird-pollinated plants, such as scarlet gilia, in the noisy sites. However, plants or trees such as the pinyon pine, might experience a decline because the animals or birds that are counted on for pollination shy away from the noise and can lead to a decline in tree or plant populations. These disturbances in a species that is vital for the community is going to have cascading effects throughout the ecosystem potentially leading to large-scale changes due to the responses of one or two important species.
By changing the fine-tuned balance between predator and prey detection and avoidance and interfering with the use of sounds in communication, especially in relation to reproduction and navigation, noise can have a detrimental effect on animals, increasing their risk of death. Hearing loss and rapid increase in heart rate are some of the ill-effects of noise pollution on animals. High intensity sound induces fear, which can force species to abandon their habitat. In loud places, studies have found that some birds have to sing at higher frequencies, bats and owls can have trouble finding prey, terrestrial insectivores lose habitat by avoiding areas with roads and construction, frogs can struggle to find mates, a population’s evolutionary trajectory can be altered by sapping resources normally devoted to other activities and thus lead to profound genetic and evolutionary consequences, various species experiencing hearing loss and the reduction of usable habitat that noisy areas may cause, which in the case of endangered species may be part of the path to extinction.
Noise pollution is becoming so ubiquitous that it is threatening biodiversity – even the protected animals living in National Parks in the U.S. are unable to escape the disturbing sounds as they are exposed to chronic levels of noise, which are audible during more than one quarter of daylight hours at more than half of 55 sites in 14 National Parks and at 12 sites, anthropogenic noise can be heard more than half the time.
As the Oceanic Preservation Society states, “Sound is to underwater creatures as sight is to humans.” Man-made noise is disrupting life below the surface where almost every living creature depends on sound as a primary sense for mating, communicating, hunting, and survival. Since the mid-1960s, the amount of commercial vessel traffic in Earth’s oceans has nearly doubled, resulting in an almost 16-fold increase in background noise intensity. The rising level of intense underwater sound produced by industrial ocean noise, oil and gas exploration, shipping traffic, seismic surveys, military sonar and other man-made sources can afflict marine life with a lethal condition commonly known as ‘the Bends’ and poses a significant long-term threat to whales, dolphins, fish and other marine species from the individual animal’s well-being, right through to its reproduction, communication, migration and even survival of the species. The “auditory scene” derived from sounds provides marine animals with a three dimensional view of the world and extends far beyond the visual scene. Artificial noise in the environment that alters the marine organism’s ability to detect and analyze its auditory scene has the potential to cause a detrimental impact on the life of the animal as well as the survival of the species. Even short exposures to low-intensity, low-frequency sound can wreak havoc on the balance systems of squid, cuttlefish and octopi, but the impact of continuous, high-intensity noise pollution in the oceans could be devastating. Military sonar and ship engine noise can send a deafening tidal wave of noise for miles as sound in the water travels five times faster than on land. Whales, dolphins and other marine mammals that have been caught in the wake of sonar have died of cerebral hemorrhaging or intentionally beached themselves in a desperate attempt to avoid the ear-splitting resonance. Even oil and gas surveys have been shown to damage fish and dramatically reduce catch rates.
When you notice a difference between loud sounds and quiet ones, your ears are perceiving changes in sound pressure level. Intensity (or volume) is measured in decibels (dB). Zero (0) dB is the softest sound that can be heard. Normal conversation is around 40dB to 60dB, a whisper around 30dB. A rock concert can average between 110 and 120 dB. Pain from hearing is subjective. Levels below 125 dB may be painful to some individuals. The sound from a jet plane is approximately 140 dB.
At rock shows, the dB level can be as great as 140 dB in front of the speakers, but less than 120 dB at the back which is still very loud and dangerous.
OSHA PEL recommends:The maximum exposure time for unprotected ears per day is 8 hours at 90 dB , A-weighted, slow response For every 5- dB increase in volume, the maximum exposure time is cut in half.
- 95 dB – 4 hours
- 100 dB – 2 hours
- 110 dB – 30 min
- 120 dB- 7.5 min
Many hearing professionals believe that these permissible levels are still too high for hearing safety.
NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends 85 dB for eight hours a day. The maximum exposure time for unprotected ears per day is 8 hours at 85-dB, A-weighted, slow response For every 3- dB increase in volume, the maximum exposure time is cut in half.
- 88 dB – 4 hours
- 91 dB – 2 hours
- 97 dB – 30 min
- 103 dB- 7.5 min
Other sources of noise: boom cars, bars, dance clubs, motorcycles, auto races, monster trucks, farm and factory equipment, power tools, guns, sporting events, crowd noise, stereo headsets.
Noise-induced hearing loss affects both the quantity and the quality of sound. Understanding human speech becomes difficult because words become indistinct. Excessive sound exposure damages hearing by over-stimulating the tiny hair cells within the inner ear. There are between 15,000 and 20,000 of these microscopic sensory receptors in the cochlea (coke-lee-ah). When these hair cells are damaged, they no longer transmit sound to the brain. Sounds are muffled. Hearing damage through noise exposure is permanently lost. Hearing aids amplify the remainder of your hearing.
Is Your Hearing at Risk?
After exposure to loud music or noise you may experience one or more of the following:
- Ringing or buzzing in the ears
- Slight muffling of sounds
- Difficulty in understanding speech. You can hear all the words, but you can’t understand them.
- Difficulty in hearing conversation in groups of people when there is background noise, or in rooms with poor acoustics.
If you experience any of these early warnings, don’t wait to seek help. Have your hearing checked by an audiologist, or have your ears examined by an ear specialist. Protect your hearing by wearing ear plugs or turning down the volume. Take breaks. Give your ears a chance to recover.
How Our Hearing Works
The OUTER EAR acts like a funnel to direct sound waves from the air to the tympanic membrane (eardrum). Sound causes the tympanic membrane to vibrate. These vibrations cause the three bones in the MIDDLE EAR (malleus, incus, and stapes) to move mechanically. The middle ear sends these mechanical vibrations to the INNER EAR, where they are picked up by tiny hair cells (cilia) and sent as electrical impulses along the auditory nerve to the brain.
Hearing Loss: It’s A Matter of Degrees
Degree of Hearing Loss can be mild, moderate, severe, or profound.
Mild (25-40 dB). A person with a mild hearing loss will have difficulty following conversation if the speaker is more than six feet away or if there’s noise in the background.
Moderate (40-70 dB). A person with moderate hearing loss would be able to hear if the speaker is speaking loudly and at no more that 3 to 5 feet away. They’ll also have trouble hearing with background noise and will need to wear a hearing aid to hear conversation.
Severe (70-90 dB). A person with a severe hearing loss would be able to hear someone’s voice if the speaker shouts and is 1 foot away. Without a hearing aid the person would not be able to understand speech and only be able to hear some loud sounds( a siren, for example).
Profound (91 dB or more). A person with a profound hearing loss is only able to hear very loud sounds. With hearing aids they would probably be able to hear loud sounds, like perhaps a telephone ringing or a name being called but, it would be difficult to understand speech. With training their ability for understanding some speech may improve.
Types of Hearing Loss
28 Million Americans have a hearing loss; 80% of those affected have hearing damage that is irreversible and permanent.
17 million Americans are affected by sensorineural hearing damage resulting from heredity, birth, trauma, disease, advanced age, or exposure to noise.
A sensorineural hearing loss is damage to the hearing nerve in the inner ear.
Advances in hearing aid technology have made great improvements in total or at least partial rehabilitation. They can assist in understanding speech and improving the clarity of sound. They cannot restore hearing to normal in the way that eye glasses correct vision.
When there is difficulty in both the middle and inner ear, a mixed hearing loss (conductive and sensorineural) exists.
A conductive hearing loss occurs when the hearing nerve functions properly but there is difficulty in the outer or middle ear transmitting system. Sound can not conduct properly to the inner ear nerve or cochlea.
Conductive hearing loss can be the result of many different conditions. The most common is fluid in the middle ear. Fluid builds up behind the ear drum which sometimes becomes infected. This can be treated with antibiotics and other medications. If drug therapy fails, drainage can be accomplished through a small incision in the eardrum (myringotomy). Tubes may be inserted to provide middle ear aeration.
Otitis media is the most common form of temporary hearing loss among children.
Another cause of conductive hearing loss is the fixation of the hearing bones (otosclerosis) which can be corrected through a surgical procedure called a “stapedectomy.” Holes or perforations in the eardrums and damaged hearing bones can be corrected by reconstructive surgery.
Hearing loss may be a symptom of ear disease. It is important to have your hearing examined by an ear specialist, (otologists or an otolaryngologist), or have your ears evaluated by an audiologist.
Rehabilitation advances in speech reading, counseling, auditory training, hearing aids and assistive listening devices (ALDs) help overcome the handicap of hearing loss. Hearing aids are now available that fit entirely within the ear canal and are practically invisible to the human eye.
Hearing loss in the profoundly deaf can sometimes be aided by a cochelear implant. This is a device which consists of a magnetic coil placed in the mastoid bone behind the ear. An electrode connects to the inside of the inner ear and stimulates the hearing nerve which enables sound to be perceived.
2 Million Americans are Profoundly Deaf
There is a difference between being deaf and being hard-of-hearing. People are either born deaf or become deaf later in life through accident or illness. American Sign Language (ASL) is used by most culturally deaf people as their primary means of communication. ASL is recognized as a language of its own and is the fourth most commonly used language in the United States. Hard-of hearing people usually use their residual hearing and communicate verbally.
Is It Legal To Drive A Car With A Loud Exhaust System?
In the United States, it’s almost universally true that your car must have a muffler to be street legal. What’s more, every state and most cities/local authorities have rules prohibiting quote “loud” exhaust systems.
As a result, almost every car legally available for sale comes equipped with some sort of street-legal system. However, if you’ve decided to boost your car’s performance with an after-market exhaust system (and if you have, good work!), then you may be concerned that your exhaust system is too loud to be street legal.
Muffler & Exhaust System Sound Laws – No Standards For Maximum Noise
Unfortunately, there is no national law that vehicle owners and exhaust manufacturers can reference to make sure their systems aren’t too loud. Instead, every vehicle owner or exhaust system installer must know their local laws. In some states, such as California, the maximum sound level limit for vehicle exhausts is 95 decibels when measured next to the vehicle. In Kansas, state muffler laws require vehicle exhaust noise to be less than 90 decibels when measured from 50 feet away. Considering that sound loses power the further it travels, the 50 foot rule in Kansas means exhaust systems can be louder in that state than they can be in California. The state of Texas has no vehicle noise laws, meaning that cars and trucks can be even louder in Texas than they can in Kansas.
Of course, local communities can set their own rules that restrict sound levels even further. In New York City, drivers can be given a ticket if their car’s exhaust system is “plainly audible” from 150 feet away. In Mankato, MN, the maximum allowable exhaust sound limit is 86db, and many cities have adopted quiet rules that prohibit any loud exhaust system from operating between 11pm and 6am. Since there are no universal standards, it’s important that you learn the local laws for yourself.
It’s also important to recognize that the only way to measure sound levels is with a calibrated decibel meter…which is something most police cars don’t come equipped with. If you ever get a ticket for an overly loud exhaust system, you may be able to challenge it in court if the officer who ticketed you didn’t use a calibrated meter.
Standard Exhaust System Laws
While there are no standards for noise levels, there are some standard laws that apply to all cars in all states and localities:
- It’s illegal to try and modify your existing muffler to make your car louder. This law is on the books to prevent people from creating an exhaust leak, because exhaust leaks can be very dangerous.
- It’s illegal to drive a car that doesn’t have some kind of muffler. Open pipes are illegal anywhere you go.
- It’s illegal to remove the catalytic converter. Some people are under the impression that catalytic converters restrict exhaust flow, but they really don’t…especially newer models and/or catalytic converters designed for performance.
- It’s illegal to route your exhaust system through your vehicle’s passenger compartment.
- Backfires are illegal under any circumstance, and you can be ticketed if your car has a mechanical problem that causes frequent engine backfires.
What To Do If You’re Driving with a Loud Muffler
Since the law may vary from one community to another, and since enforcement of these laws is uneven, the best advice is:
- Drive as quietly as you can. Blipping the throttle at a red light is fun, but it’s noisy and likely to attract the attention of law enforcement. Same thing goes for WOT (wide open throttle) acceleration.
- Drive quietly late at night or early in the morning. If your car or truck has a loud exhaust system, a good way to avoid a ticket is to take it easy during the hours that most people sleep. Otherwise, you’re going to wake someone up and they’re going to call the cops and complain.
- Get with your local muffler shop and find out about swapping out your mufflers for something a little quieter. If that’s not an option, consider adding a removable muffler to the end of your vehicle’s tailpipe(s).
If you are pulled over for having a loud exhaust system, be sure to ask the officer if they had a chance to measure the decibels. If they didn’t use a sound meter, you may be able to ask them how they’re sure your system is too loud…as politely as possible, of course.