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Urban Sprawl and Hearing Loss

Global Population

Just think. Every minute, global population stretches and increases. As this sentence was typed, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of babies were born. By the time you finish reading this, even more people will inhabit the planet. It’s a sobering thought, isn’t it? Cities are growing and changing to accommodate. You may have seen or heard to this referred to as urban sprawl. As a side effect, transportation gets noisier, fumes accumulate and interestingly enough, your hearing is impacted. Today, we’re teaming up with Hearlink, to discuss what it is exactly about urban sprawl that has this negative effect.

Urban Sprawl

In a nutshell, urban sprawl is a catalyst for noise pollution. This isn’t the aforementioned exhaust fumes, or plastic bottles accumulating in the street; This is the five-in-the-morning bus route that just happens to have a stop right outside of your window, which was a necessary addition, due to the growing number of people in your neighborhood. This is the factory machinery, which is integral to the construction of the new condominium complex, needed to get ahead of the inevitable crowd surge, because your area is suddenly deemed “trendy”.

Some of you are probably sitting back, shaking your head, and feeling fortunate to live outside one of your area’s main cities. You’re thanking the powers that be that you decided to move to the suburbs. But don’t get too excited. Rural land is decreasing at a rapid rate. While some areas are protected by governmental legislation, those that aren’t project giant dollar signs above them. Developers are eager to snatch land up, and turn the almighty buck.

Even technology is to blame. It’s hard to walk down a street these days without running into someone on their cellular phone. Without anti-noise regulations in place, devices just get louder and louder.

Fun Fact

Here’s a fun fact- quieting the current levels of noise pollution could save almost $4 billion dollars globally. A year. The reason is that there’s a bit of a domino effect with noise pollution. It impacts stress and sleep, which can then affect your work performance, even putting some out of jobs over time. That’s extreme, but the health effects are realistic. Stress leads to blood pressure and heart problems, sending you straight to the doctor and then home to foot the bill.

What Should You Do?

So what should you do? Short of running for government and aligning to the recommendation by the EPA — a 5-decibel noise reduction would reduce the prevalence of high blood pressure by 1.4 percent and coronary heart disease by 1.8 percent. – it’s probably time to look into hearing aids or earplugs which help block out this noise. Some work environments are even requiring them these days. Bare minimum: they’re a key component in a night of healthy sleep. And we all know the value of sleep.

Reach Out

Don’t hesitate to reach out to Mute Audio with any questions that you might have. And be sure to check out the Hearlink blog, for audiology industry news, and helpful tips to maximize your hearing.