Noise pollution can have a lot of negative effects on people and their daily activities. Overexposure to intense sound can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. Overexposure to intense sound can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. Intensity of sound is measured in decibels (dB). The scale runs from the faintest sound the human ear can detect, which is labeled 0 dB, to over 180 dB.



Hearing Loss
Approximate Decibel Level Examples
0 dB Quietest Sound
30 dB Whisper similar to a library
60 dB Normal Talking
90 dB Lawn mower, Trucks driving by
100 dB Chainsaw, Personal Recreational vehicles such as a snowmobile. More than two hours of exposure has the potential to cause damage without protection
115 dB Rock Concert, car horn. More than 15 minutes without protection can cause mage
140 dB Some guns, Jet Aircraft. Brief exposure can cause damage

Millions at risk of Heart Disease Due to Noise

In the Environmental Noise Pollution in the United States: Developing an Effective Public Health Response paper they estimated that 104 million individuals had annual LEQ(24) levels > 70 dBA (equivalent to a continuous average exposure level of >70 dBA over 24 hr) in 2013 and were at risk of noise induced hearing loss. Tens of millions more may be at risk of heart disease, and other noise-related health effects. D

Noise Level
Firecracker 180 db
Gunshot 167
Car Stereo 154
Children’s Toys 150
Sporting Event 127

Hearing Loss

According to the Better Hearing Institute 40 million Americans suffer from hearing loss. Hearing loss frequently co-exists with other health conditions such as Diabetes, Depression and Anxiety among others. To find out if you have hearing loss you can contact your primary care provider for an exam or a referral for a hearing professional. There is also an online test provided by the Better Hearing Institute here:

Evaluation of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in Young People
Using a Web-Based Survey Technique

Notably, most respondents had experienced tinnitus or hearing impairment attending concerts (61%) and clubs (43%).

Mental Effects of Noise