By Jessica Greenwood
When you think about pollution, what comes to mind? Most of us imagine major oil spills, smoke pushing out from factory chimneys, piles of cars idling in morning traffic, pesticides spraying over our crops or plastic bags floating through air and water, only to find their way to our oceans. All of these images are accurate and deserve our attention. However, more notice should be directed towards another pollutant that disturbs the very rhythm of life: NOISE.
All of our systems, from the small to large, work under the influence of rhythm. Rhythm is the arrangement of sound as it moves through time. Airplanes, electronics, traffic, construction, sirens, trains, poor building acoustics and many more sources of noise, sometimes at excessive levels, contribute to drowning out life’s natural rhythm.
As a society, we have become accustomed to a world with a constant buzz and general loudness, but at what cost? There are the more obvious issues, such as hearing damage (i.e. hearing loss, tinnitus, Meniere’s, and hyperacusis), which can be instantaneous and permanent, but that is only the tip if the iceberg. Noise pollution and hearing loss can cause many psychological issues such as stress, fatigue, insomnia and depression, to name a few.
It’s important to remember that humans are not the only creatures who are disrupted by all this noise; wildlife has been profoundly affected by the constant humming of this planet. Animals rely heavily on the ability to hear for survival; to hunt, mate and flee danger requires sensitivity to sound, sound that is becoming harder for wildlife to distinguish. Even in the deepest ocean waters the impact noise pollution is having on aquatic life is the source of many news articles.
So what can you do about all of this noise and drama created around our sensitive ears? There are several solutions to this problem, but the first step is simply becoming aware of the sounds surrounding us and educating ourselves about safe listening levels.
April 29th, 2015 is International Noise Awareness Day (INAD). In celebration, HHF and Puro Sound Labs, a Hearing Health Partner that shares HHF’s vision for a world where people can enjoy life without hearing loss and tinnitus, are joining forces. We are asking YOU to document any noisy part of your day by taking a short video or audio recording. It can be of anything, such as riding a subway car, sirens passing by, excessively loud restaurants or concerts, or the waves crashing onto to the beach, among other noises encountered on a regular, everyday basis. The only supplies you need are your ears and cell phone or camera to capture sounds and noises you experience. Once captured, please share it with us on Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #HearTheNoise.
As an organization dedicated to cure hearing loss and tinnitus, Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) understands the importance of prevention and awareness, which is why we recently added “promoting hearing health” to our mission. While HHF has an incredible and committed following, HHF cannot spread the word alone, and enlists the help of its corporate partners to help.
One such company is Puro Sound Labs, a small start-up that created headphones with volume limits at 85dB, the maximum sound level for safe listening. Volumes exceeding 85dB can cause irreversible damage, such as Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). NIHL is a growing epidemic, with the numbers of people affected by hearing loss expanding, rapidly, especially among our youth. Personal listening devices and earbuds are likely the greatest contributor to this epidemic producing volumes well over a safe level, often exceeding 110dB, at which damaged can be sustained in a matter of minutes.
While Puro Sound Labs is company that has dedicated itself to providing great sound without the need of excessive volume, they wanted to take their commitment to hearing health and prevention to the next level: the company is contributing a portion of each pair of BT2200 headphones sold, to HHF’s mission of finding a cure for hearing loss and tinnitus.
Together Puro Sound Labs and HHF are Partners with a Purpose.