Noise pollution is a very real threat to your overall health – and it’s getting worse, according to a new report from the World Health Organisation.
The publication, released today, aim to tackle the serious implications noise pollution can have for one in five of us in Europe.
“Noise pollution in our towns and cities is increasing, blighting the lives of many European citizens,” said Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, the WHO’s regional director for Europe. More than a nuisance, excessive noise is a health risk.”
Exposure to excessive noise can lead to a number of conditions , cognitive impairment in children, sleep disturbance, cardiovascular disease and tinnitus and annoyance, the report explains.
Here’s how you can reduce your own exposure to noise, based on NHS guidelines for hearing:
1. Avoid loud noises
“The best way to avoid noise-induced hearing loss is to keep away from loud noise as much as you can,” the website advises.
A quick test is, if you have to raise your voice to talk to others, it’s probably too loud. Ditto if your ears hurt, or if you have ringing in your ears afterwards.
2. Take care when listening to music
“Listening to loud music through earphones and headphones is one of the biggest dangers to your hearing,” says the NHS. Try purchasing a noise-cancelling pair, or maintaining the volume below 60% of its maximum capacity, the guidelines recommend.
3. Protect your hearing
Try to wear earplugs when you attend a nightclub or concert, to protect your ears from excessive noise. Alternatively, move away from loudspeakers and try to take a break from the noise every 15 minutes.
4 Take precautions at work
“Your employer is obliged to make changes to reduce your exposure to loud noise,” explains the website – so make sure you are provided with hearing protection such as ear muffs or earplugs if you need it, and be sure to wear it.
5 Get your hearing tested
If you are worried you are losing your hearing, get a test. The NHS says: “The earlier hearing loss is picked up, the earlier something can be done about it.”
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