Washington Post: Noise Exposure Is Becoming ‘the New Secondhand Smoke’

Discussion in 'Support' started by housemzk, May 16, 2018.

    1. housemzk

      housemzk Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Jan 18, 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      concussions, wisdom teeth removal, neck, jaw, stress, noise?
      Saw this in the paper yesterday and thought it would be useful to you all.

      By Mindy Fetterman May 12
      NEW YORK — One of the quietest places in this noisy city is in the middle of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which draws 7 million visitors a year.

      Most don’t know of the tiny Astor Chinese Garden Court tucked deep within the giant museum. And so, it is quiet here.

      In a city whose cacophony can reach 95 decibels in Midtown Manhattan — way above the federal government’s recommended average of no more than 70 decibels — the commotion over all that racket involves irate residents, anti-noise advocates, bars, helicopter sightseeing companies, landscapers and construction companies, as well as City Hall. The 311 nonemergency call service gets 50,000 calls a day, and the No. 1 complaint is noise.

      New York University has a five-year study underway — funded by the National Science Foundation — to monitor noise in New York. The Sounds of New York City project aims to track sound across the city. But what policymakers will do with the information is not yet clear.

      No studies have been done on the change in city noise over time, whether it is getting worse or by how much. But experts point to rising complaints, more lawsuits, more people with hearing problems, and studies showing that noise has negative health effects.

      Noise is “the new secondhand-smoke issue,” said Bradley Vite, who pushed for regulations in Elkhart, Ind., that come with some of the nation’s steepest fines. “It took decades to educate people on the dangers of secondhand smoke. We may need decades to show the impact of secondhand noise.”

      The Environmental Protection Agency has said that noise below an average of 70 decibels over 24 hours is safe and won’t cause hearing loss. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health says anything below an 85 won’t cause hearing loss for workers exposed to loud machinery.

      But those levels are way above recommendations made by the European Union. In 2009, the E.U. set noise guidelines of 40 decibels at night to “protect human health.” And it said steady, continuous noise in the daytime — such as the noise on highways — should not exceed 50 decibels.

      “We’re in active denial” about the effects of noise, said Rick Neitzel, director of environmental health policy at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “We’re far, far behind what Europe is doing.”

      When it mapped noise across the country last year, the Department of Transportationfound that 97 percent of the population is subjected to man-made noise. A recent study of 290 national park sites found that 67 percent had significant human-caused noise, said Rachel Buxton of Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

      Aircraft noise fell by 95 percent from 1970 to 2004 as plane engines got quieter, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. But local battles over airport and airplane noise continue for communities in flight paths. In the national parks, “the biggest culprit is aircraft — the planes overhead — and then road traffic and sounds from industrial sources like oil and natural gas drilling,” said Buxton, who participated in the study of national park noise.

      “We’ll be hiking in Rocky Mountain” National Park, she said, and the background noise “drives my husband absolutely loony.”

      People in poorer and racially segregated neighborhoods live with higher levels of noise than other people, according to a 2017 study led by the School of Public Health at the University of California at Berkeley. Neighborhoods with median annual household incomes below $25,000 were nearly two decibels louder than neighborhoods with incomes above $100,000.

      And communities where at least 3 in 4 residents are black had median nighttime noise levelsof 46.3 decibels — four decibels louder than communities with no black residents.

      Why car horns, planes and sirens might be bad for your heart

      Noise doesn’t just affect hearing, noise activists say. A study by the University of Michigan showed an association with cardiovascular disease and heart attacks, according to Neitzel, who conducted the study.

      “The consensus is that if we can keep noise below 70 decibels on average, that would eliminate hearing loss,” Neitzel said. “But the problem is that if noise is more than 50 decibels, there’s an increased risk of heart attack and hypertension,” he said. “Noise at 70 decibels is not safe.”

      According to the Earth Journalism Network, when you hear a jackhammer, that’s 130 decibels of noise; a chain saw, 110. At a rock concert standing near the speakers? 120. Getting passed by police with sirens blazing? 120. Behind a garbage truck? 100.

      At a noisy restaurant? 70.

      A few states and cities are beginning to do something — at least a little something — to quiet things down.

      In Texas, new “quiet concrete” is being tested on two stretches of highway. The $12.4 million project is aimed at replacing concrete sound barriers that won’t be needed because highway traffic will be quieter.

      “Most of the roaring noise from highways comes from the tires on the road, not the engine or exhaust noise,” said Robert Bernhard, vice president for research at the University of Notre Dame and an expert in noise-control engineering. Traditional concrete is raked with grooves that run across the road to drain water, he said.

      Quieter concrete has grooves that go with traffic and drops highway sound levels 5.8 decibels, on average, a study in Texas found. That is equivalent to a roughly 70 percent reduction in traffic, according to Emily Black, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Transportation.

      In Phoenix, more than 200 miles of highway have been resurfaced with a concrete mix that uses pieces of old tires to dampen sound, said Doug Nintzel, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Transportation. More than 6,000 recycled tires are used in every mile of rubberized four-lane highway.

      “It means millions of tires have been recycled and kept out of landfills,” he said.

      Elkhart backs up its regulations against “loud and raucous sounds” with stiff fines, particularly for hot rods and tricked-out motorcycles whose exhaust systems have been manipulated to make them louder. The first violation will cost you $250; the second one, $500; the third, $1,000; and it’s $1,500 for each violation after that.

      “These biker gangs that roar through town can get up to 125 decibels,” Vite said. The city has collected $1.6 million from noise fines and used it to buy four new police cars and other things, he said.

      Leaf blowers are another noise flash point. Hundreds of cities have regulations against the tools, but they are difficult to enforce.

      Washington, New York and Los Angeles also have struggled with helicopter noise. In Washington, military flights are to blame; in New York, it’s sightseeing flights; and in Los Angeles, it is filmmakers trying to get the perfect shot. About three-quarters of the roughly 145 daily helicopter flights in the D.C. area are to or from the Pentagon, according to a letter from local congressional representatives.

      The Pentagon has agreed to study the noise and ways to minimize it.
      • Agree Agree x 4
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    2. DT_N_DA_CLUB

      DT_N_DA_CLUB Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Interesting article, they did get a noisy restaraunt at 70 decibels wrong or at least that can be between 70-90 db.

      Noisy restaraunts can easily be over 80 db's.
      • Agree Agree x 1
    3. NormySan

      NormySan Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise exposure
      Hopefully this gets some real traction and measures will be taken to reduce noise levels everywhere.
      • Agree Agree x 3
    4. Apolonia

      Apolonia Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced, acoustic trauma
      I see everyone with headphones on their head and this will become a major problem for young people in the future... People are getting tinnitus because of it....
      • Agree Agree x 1
    5. JurgenG

      JurgenG Member Benefactor Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise exposure / headphone accident maybe?
      I feel like this article isn't always so clear on the difference between hearing damage and the stress sound can cause.

      70 dB average on 24 hours is considered safe, but will surely bring about lots of stress.
      40 dB at night is not required for our ears, but is a guideline because many people like to sleep in silence, many of us don't do that anymore.
      Also a restaurant that is barely 70 dB, that sounds like a dream..
      • Agree Agree x 1
    6. DT_N_DA_CLUB

      DT_N_DA_CLUB Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      As far as higher decibels adding stress to the heart, I would think it's unwanted loud sounds. Musician's and people that enjoy loud music are not at risk of heart attacks. It is when there is loud industrial noises etc. If that was the case some of us with noise phobias would have a higher increased rates of heart attacks. I don't see any posts about that, the whole stress on the heart is B.S. IMO. One study doesn't mean causation LOL.
    7. SugarMagnolia

      SugarMagnolia Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      I have always been stressed by the noise I have to hear in my home: especially the leaf blowers and all the other equipment used to maintain the little patch of grass and bushes in front of my apartment building and the construction work that is always going on because as soon as one building finishes its work another begins.

      But now fear of additional ear damage is added to the general stress this noise causes.
    8. AUTHOR

      housemzk Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Jan 18, 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      concussions, wisdom teeth removal, neck, jaw, stress, noise?
      @DT_N_DA_CLUB - Here's another WP article that delves into sound being bad for our hearts:

      By Lindsey Bever February 6
      The roar of a jet plane, the rumble of a big rig, that shrill scream from the siren of a speeding emergency vehicle:

      The common but loud noises that keep you awake at night and agitate you throughout the day may have a notable effect on your cardiovascular health, experts say.

      Researchers say noise pollution may increase the risk of heart disease, such as coronary artery disease, hypertension and heart failure, according to a review paper published this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Why? The authors, who examined research on noise pollution and heart disease, say that loud sounds not only disrupt sleep, which can lead to health problems, but can also ignite the stress response, releasing a rush of hormones that, over time, can damage the heart.

      “Ten years ago, people were saying that noise is just annoying, but now I think there’s considerable evidence that noise makes you sick, and one of the predominate diseases is cardiovascular disease,” lead author Thomas Münzel said Tuesday in a phone interview with The Washington Post.

      [Some birds are so stressed by noise pollution it looks like they have PTSD]

      The research does not prove that loud noises cause heart disease. But Münzel, with the cardiology center at the University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, told ABC News that noise pollution — or unwanted environmental noise — is a risk factor for heart disease in the same way that high cholesterol and obesity may increase the odds.

      Those confronted with noise pollution, which causes disturbances to communication during the day and sleep at night, may have increased stress hormone levels, he said.

      Over time, Münzel said, it can take a toll on the body — increasing cholesterol, blood pressure and heart rate. “If this persists for years, then you have a risk of coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure and arrhythmia,” he told The Post.

      Münzel added that long-term noise pollution may also be linked to depression and anxiety disorders as well as problems with cognitive development in young children.

      But in researching the link between noise pollution and heart disease, experts warn that there are also factors that can complicate the findings. For instance, people who live in heavily populated areas more likely to be plagued by noise are also exposed to more particle pollution in the air, which can also cause heart problems. And, people who live in such areas may also have a different socioeconomic status, meaning they may not have the same access to health care or healthful foods.

      Still, said Steve Kopecky, a professor of medicine specializing in cardiovascular diseases at the Mayo Clinic, noise and how it affects health is something to consider.

      “I think it’s something we need to pay more attention to in terms of our everyday living,” he told The Post.

      an underestimated threat” that can cause “sleep disturbance, cardiovascular effects, poorer work and school performance, hearing impairment.”

      The agency has published guidelines for community noise (PDF), recommending 30 A-weighted decibels in the bedroom for a good night's sleep.

      A car measures 70 decibels, a jackhammer 100 decibels and an airplane takeoff 120 decibels, according to a WHO decibel scale cited by ABC News. “Though there is no set threshold to establish risk, we do know that anything above 60 decibels can increase risk for heart disease,” Münzel told the station.

      “We need more research to determine what duration of exposure to loud noise is harmful, but we do know that the risk comes from years and years of exposure, not days,” he added.

      Experts say that loud noises, especially when people are not expecting them, can trigger the stress response.

      How does it work?

      According to the Mayo Clinic, when a person senses a threat, “your hypothalamus, a tiny region at the base of your brain, sets off an alarm system in your body.”

      It states:

      Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.

      Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain's use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.

      Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with regions of your brain that control mood, motivation and fear.

      Kopecky said people may not pay attention to certain sounds when they expect them — such as hearing horns honk while sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic — but that same sound when it's unexpected — such as when a person is asleep — can trigger the stress response.

      Kopecky said there are several ways that response can lead to damage: The rush of hormones causes the arteries to constrict, which can damage the lining of the arteries and lead to heart disease. It can also raise blood pressure or make the blood more likely to clot, which is a problem with heart attacks.

      But regardless of where a person lives, Kopecky said, there are things that can be done, especially when it comes to sleep, such as using a white noise machine to help drown out unwanted sounds.

      Münzel is calling on lawmakers to change policies.

      “Noise can be considered a cardiovascular risk factor,” he said. “Importantly, this is a risk factor that cannot be managed by patients or by doctors; it just can be managed by politicians by making laws with low thresholds for decibel levels during the day and during the night to protect the people living very close to noise sources.”
      • Informative Informative x 1
    9. DT_N_DA_CLUB

      DT_N_DA_CLUB Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      It says "may" effect the heart, that means nothing.

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