Tag Archive: loud noise

A simple treatment may minimize hearing loss triggered by loud noise

Photo credit: ZaldyImg licensed under CC BY 2.0

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

This report discusses a simple treatment that may minimize hearing loss triggered by loud noise.

It’s interesting that the sense of fullness in the ear after loud noise exposure is actually caused by swelling in the inner ear. Many people report this sensation, and a decreased ability to hear, after attending a rock concert or using loud power tools.

I have the same comments about this report as I made about the many similar previous reports of treatments to prevent hearing loss after noise exposure:

1. This is a very preliminary report. Even if this report is confirmed by other studies, it will take years if not decades for the treatment to be approved for human use.

2. In this case, injecting a solution through the ear drum into the middle ear isn’t as easy as one might think. The ear drum is very sensitive and contact causes pain. So I’m not sure how people are going to be able to do this.

3. Finally, other than for the soldiers who may not be able to avoid noise exposure, for most people it’s easy to avoid noise exposure–avoid loud noise or use hearing protection if you can’t.

Prevention of a problem is a whole lot better than trying to treat it.

Dr. Daniel Fink is a leading noise activist based in the Los Angeles area. He serves on the board of the American Tinnitus Association, is the interim chair of Quiet Communities’s Health Advisory Council, and is the founding chair of The Quiet Coalition, an organization of science, health, and legal professionals concerned about the impacts of noise on health, environment, learning, productivity, and quality of life in America.

Noise is bad for your heart

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

Dr. Nandi, a health news commentator for television station WXYZ in Detroit, Michigan, explains why loud noise is bad for your heart.

Here’s a hint: it causes stress, and that causes high blood pressure, heart attack and heart failure, stroke, and death.

Dr. Nandi didn’t reference a recent article by Dr. Thomas Münzel from Germany in the current Journal of the American College of Cardiology, but I’m pretty sure that’s where he got his information. The Washington Post did speak with Dr. Münzel for its coverage of this topic.

Dr. Münzel’s new article is behind a paywall so only the abstract is available for free, but in it he and his colleagues updated information he wrote about in the European Heart Journal in 2014.

Dr. Daniel Fink is a leading noise activist based in the Los Angeles area. He serves on the board of the American Tinnitus Association, is the interim chair of Quiet Communities’s Health Advisory Council, and is the founding chair of The Quiet Coalition, an organization of science, health, and legal professionals concerned about the impacts of noise on health, environment, learning, productivity, and quality of life in America.

 

Fido hates fireworks

Many dogs are afraid of fireworks, as the noise causes them to hide or howl with fear and anxiety. Trish Hernandez, The Taos News, tells you how you can protect your dog from this trauma. Her article offers a number of helpful solutions to help your pooch make it through the upcoming fireworks season (which can run all summer long in places like New York City).

First and foremost, Hernandez strongly suggests that you not leave your dog home alone, noting that “[d]ogs with phobic reactions to fireworks can easily panic and injure themselves in the process….[and] [m]any panicked dogs find ways to escape from their yards and can be further injured or killed while running loose.” That said, your home is the best place for your dog, and staying with him or her will help to keep them distracted (and a few extra treats won’t hurt). Hernandez also gives advice for people with multiple dogs, noting that “if one dog already exhibits a fearful or phobic response to the sound of fireworks, [you should] separate the dogs so that non-fearful dog does not “catch” the fear.”

It’s not just pets who suffer from firework noise, humans can too. An editorial in The Adirondack Daily Enterprise notes that “[t]he booms and bangs of fireworks can be particularly harsh for veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder,” adding that “[t]he sound of gunshot-like noises can trigger flashbacks, intrusive thoughts and even suicide.”

While taking steps to ease the trauma for humans and dogs is the obvious course, maybe we need to think about logical long-term solutions, like avoiding the trauma in the first place. For example, we could advocate for a ban on loud fireworks like the thoughtful residents of Collecchio, a town in the province of Parma, Italy. The local government there “introduced new legislation forcing citizens to use silent fireworks as a way of respecting the animals” by reducing the stress caused by noise from conventional fireworks.

That is, instead of each of us trying to protect humans and animals from the trauma of loud fireworks, we could protect everyone by requiring the use quiet fireworks. Quiet fireworks have existed for decades, and they are just as vivid and colorful as their conventional cousins. But unlike conventional fireworks, they don’t traumatize animals or people or cause hearing damage.

Until that time comes, here are directions on how to make a DIY “Thundershirt” that will help your dog deal with anxiety.

 

Concern about noise is universal

Photo credit: Eldan Goldenberg licensed under CC BY 2.0

The American Speech-Language Hearing Association conducted a survey of 1,007 Americans that found that adults of all ages are concerned about long-term effects of loud noises. Specifically, adults are concerned “about what loud noises may be doing to affect their ability to hear as they get older.”  Oddly, the survey also found that “young adults still like to see sports stadiums and restaurants designed to be noisy,” even as “18- to 29-year olds reported the highest level of dissatisfaction with noise levels in public places like bars, restaurants, even movie theaters.”

ASHA conducted the survey to “understand how US adults feel about noisy environments and how they affect their out of home entertainment decisions,” and is using the results to support its efforts around Better Hearing and Speech Month. You can access the survey results and executive summary by clicking this link (pdf).

Yet more evidence that noise damages health:

doc-w_-stethoscope

Negative Effects of Loud Noise on Our Bodies.  Eleni Roumeliotou, Primal Baby, writing for Mother Earth News, looks at the significant negative effects of noise.  Roumeliotou states that a “study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives in 2004, reports that a single session of exposure to very loud noise (100 decibels) for 12 hours caused a significant increase of DNA fragmentation in the adrenal gland cells.”  Distressingly, even though “[c]ells possess sophisticated molecular tools to repair DNA breaks” within 15 minutes to two hours generally, when exposed to the single exposure in the loud noise study, “cells were unable to repair their DNA even after a day of not being exposed to noise.”

And there’s more.  Click the link above to read about the effect of noise on the cardiovascular system.

Link via Quiet Communities.

 

 

Think that noise is merely annoying? Think again:

New York City, October 2015, Manhattan

New York City, October 2015, Manhattan

Loud Noises Are Slowly Ruining Your Health.  David Hillier, writing for Vice, examines the effects of noise pollution on health, noting that the World Health Organization (WHO) considers noise pollution “the second biggest environmental cause of health problems in humans after air pollution.”  You’ll note that the WHO says “health problems” and not hearing problems, because noise pollution doesn’t just affect hearing.  As Hillier writes, “[s]tudies from 2012 suggested [noise pollution] contributed to 910,000 additional cases of hypertension across Europe every year and 10,000 premature deaths related to coronary heart diseases or strokes.”  Click the link above for more.

The destructive power of noise:

ING Bank’s main data center was shut down by a loud noise.  So what exactly happened, you ask?  This:

[ING Bank] was testing an electronics-safe fire suppression system in the main data center, but a pressure discrepancy caused the system to emit a loud noise while expelling inert gas.  According to the bank, the sound was measured a over 130dB — apparently loud enough to knock the HDD’s physical components out of alignment.

130 dB (probably A-weighted or dBA) is not to be sniffed at.  It’s recommended that humans limit exposure at 130 dBA to “under one second.”  If noise measuring 130 dBA is loud enough to knock out a few dozen hard drives, what will it do to you?  It’s time you learned about noise-induced “hidden hearing loss.”

Can Sound Kill You?

The short answer is “yes,” theoretically.  The long answer, thankfully, is that “it would be difficult, and perhaps impossible, to artificially generate a noise loud enough to kill a person.”  Wondering how loud a sound must be to kill and how sound alone could kill a human?  Here are your answers:

[I]’s been speculated that 195 decibels would do the trick. (By comparison, normal conversation registers at 60 dB; an ambulance siren at 10 feet is about 115 dB). At that volume, air pressure fluctuations would be severe enough to damage your lungs, creating lethal air bubbles in the blood or simply causing the lungs to pop like balloons.

Now you know what your nightmare will feature tonight!

Link via @QuietMark.

As if you needed another reason to ask for the music to be lowered:

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Photo credit: Quiet City Maps

Can Your Ears Help Control Your Stomach?  According to a recent study, it looks like the answer is yes:

In one paper, marketing professors at Brigham Young and Colorado State universities asked 71 volunteers to eat a snack of pretzels while wearing over-the-ear headphones. Some volunteers were subjected to loud white noise from the headsets as they ate, while a second group heard quieter noise.

The result? Those listening to the loud noise consumed 49% more pretzels than those listening to the quieter noise. The findings suggest, according to the researchers, that the sound you make while eating is an important cue to how much you’re taking in. Listening to loud noise evidently made it harder to know when to stop, implying that dieters might want to turn down the music while dining.

Interestingly, the paper was the work of marketing professors.  No doubt the findings will be used by restaurant owners to crank up the volume even higher.