Noise pollution is a fact of life worldwide. Similar to second-hand smoke, second-hand noise is an unwanted airborne pollutant produced by others; imposed without consent, and often at times, places, and volumes with no controls, according to a report from the Republic of Zimbabwe, in southern Africa.
Noise-induced hearing loss is the most common work-related illness in the United States. Each year, an estimated 22 million U.S. workers encounter noise exposures loud enough to be potentially hazardous. In addition to damaging workers' quality of life, occupational hearing loss can carry a high economic price to society.
Two homemade pressure-cooker bombs exploded within seconds of each other near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, killing three people and seriously injuring hundreds. Some who escaped physical harm realized days or weeks later they were suffering from hearing problems, according to the Washington Post.
Noise pollution at oil and gas sites remains “woefully under-studied contrary to its public health significance,” according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Environmental noise caused by oil and gas drilling activities is often overlooked entirely or rejected as a minor, temporary nuisance by industry and regulators, despite the fact that drilling and other activities at well sites are very noisy and can be close to homes, according to the NRDC.
Hearing loss can be caused by a number of factors, including exposure to high noise levels and aging. Conductive losses are losses where sound isn't carried from the outside environment; it is not conducted inward, perhaps due to earwax or fluid behind the ear, a hole in the eardrum, or otosclerosis where the bones don't vibrate.
Here are three uncommon causes of hearing loss, according to hearmichigan.com: Low-frequency sounds: Things you can't hear can still do damage. A new study from Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany revealed that listening to 90 seconds of low-frequency sounds can change the way your inner ear works for minutes after the noise ceases.