Noise

Noise

To most of us noise means loud sounds that we do not want to hear.

What are the Health Effects?

Most people find too much noise very annoying. Over time, high levels of annoyance can affect your quality of life, can be harmful to your health, and may lead to hearing loss. As homes and communities become more crowded, environmental noise levels increase.

Children may have a stress response to loud noise. Their heart rate may increase and levels of certain hormones may be affected. Loud noise can also have a negative effect on children's learning and language development, can disturb motivation and concentration, and can result in reduced memory and ability to carry out tasks.

Consequences of exposure to loud noise include temporary or permanent hearing loss and ringing or buzzing in the ears (tinnitus). Noise can also affect your ability to have a normal conversation, enjoy leisure activities, get a good night's sleep, or do work that needs thought and concentration. A lack of sleep deprives the body and brain of time needed to rest and renew. Over time, this can lead to stress, anxiety, and high blood pressure.

Common sources of high levels of noise that may pose a risk to health include:

  • Personal music players used with headphones or ear buds
  • Toys, especially noisy toys that may be held too close to a child's ear or that a child may use in ways that are not according to the manufacturer's "recommended use" instructions.

Tips – What can you do?

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  • Limit the amount of time you spend on noisy leisure activities, or wear protective gear.
  • Give your ears time to recover if you have been exposed to loud noise and experienced temporary hearing loss or ringing or buzzing in your ears.
  • Buy toys that do not have loud sound effects.
  • Tell your neighbours if you are planning to be noisy and loud.
  • Wear ear protection if you work in a place that is noisy or if you are exposed to noise (such as using a chain saw).
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