Loud noise and your health
Today is International Noise Awareness Day and to commemorate the day, JAD Hearing Services - a social enterprise which provides hearing assessments, hearing health education and hearing devices - in partnership with its parent organisation the Jamaica Association for the Deaf (JAD) and the Pan-American Health Organization is hosting a symposium under the theme 'Noise Implications - Issues and Solutions'.
The day was initiated by the Centre for Hearing and Communication USA 21 years ago to urge persons to fight against incommodious noise in their environment, be it home, work or leisure. Noise levels have increased, and dangerously so. Noise pollution, which is encountered daily, is increasing at an alarming rate and is having adverse effects on our health.
Excessively high noise levels have a significant impact on an employee's health and well-being. Research has shown that excessive noise at the workplace can have a negative impact on employees ability to retain vital information, affect concentration levels, productivity and work quality. In addition, it can lead to feelings of stress and fatigue in employees, increasing the risk of absenteeism and, ultimately, staff turnover due to poor job satisfaction. Prolonged exposure to noise has caused serious health maladies, including stress, high blood pressure and heart-related illnesses.
Environmental noise comes from non-occupational sources such as traffic and entertainment. There is a growing number of motor vehicles on the road. Some persons have modified their vehicles, making the mufflers noisier, and installing in their vehicles large amplified sound systems which emit blaring discomfiting sound that is potentially harmful to others in their vicinity a la second-hand smoking. Promoters of night events are sometimes not sensitive to residents who are in proximity.
The Noise Abatement Act indirectly serves to curtail exposure to amplified sound from both private and public premises, whether due to entertainment and/or workplace activities, usage of loud speakers at public and political meetings, or otherwise. The Act presumes that certain sounds between particular hours can cause annoyance, sleep disruption or other adverse and undesirable effects. Such effects can be deleterious to one's health.
TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR HEARING:
- Beware of noise that can cause damage (those at or above 85 decibels).
- Children who are too young to protect their hearing must have their ears protected by an adult.
- Wear earplugs or other hearing protective devices when involved in a loud activity (custom-made earplugs are available at JAD Hearing Services).
- If your workplace is noisy, wear an earplug and take breaks away from the noise such as lunch or coffee breaks.
- Stay clear of the vuvuzelas at the various sports activities.
- If you suspect hearing loss, get your ears tested. JAD Hearing Services has health professionals trained to assess and help individuals deal with hearing loss.
HEARING PROTECTIVE DEVICES
If you have any questions about noise and hearing loss, or if you are often in situations where you are exposed to loud noise, contact JAD Hearing Services, provider of high-quality hearing assessment and hearing devices for children and adults. JAD Hearing Services also specialises in custom-made ear-plugs in every colour for everyone, including musicians and industrial workers.
- Deniese Badroe is the director of Business Development Division at the Jamaica Association for the Deaf, Hope Estate, Papine. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: jamdeaf.org.jm. For more information, call 926-7001 or go online at www.jadclinic.com.jm.