Why Noise Is A Public Health Issue
Did you know that exposure to loud noises can do irreversible damage to your hearing? People working in construction and entertainment are particularly at risk of developing hearing loss due to their noisy work environments. And while ear protection is sometimes recommended, it is often not enforced and there are many times in which employees have no idea about the risks they’re taking by not wearing ear protection.
The American Public Health Association recently published a statement which labelled noise as a public health hazard, and called for action. Excessive noise was linked to, not just hearing damage, but other health issues such as dementia, insomnia, obesity and diabetes, with the harmfulness of environmental noise being compared to second hand smoke.
Even if you don’t work in a noisy environment, you may find yourself exposed to noisy neighbours, and excessive levels of noise at events, which you may have no control over.
Noise Regulation In South Africa
In South Africa, when it comes to noisy neighbours there are two distinct types of noise, namely Disturbing Noise and Noise Nuisance. Both of these types of noise are illegal according to noise control regulations.
A Disturbing Noise is a noise which can be scientifically measured, using decibels. If your neighbours are playing loud music late into the night and are ignoring your requests to turn it down, you are entitled to call the SAPS.
Noise Nuisance is slightly harder to define and could include a barking dog, the noise from loud machinery are any other highly irritating noises.
If you feel that you’ve been a victim of excessive noise, you can go to court with matter, although keep in mind that a test of objective reasonableness will take place to obtain the outcome.
Protect Your Hearing
While there are many noises that you may encounter that you have no control over, you do have a responsibility to look after your own hearing. Wear protection when entering noisy environments and try to limit your exposure to loud events. Also ensure that you always listen to music and watch television at a reasonable volume.
If you ever need any further advice when it comes to hearing damage and how you can protect your hearing, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Hearing Aid Labs South Africa. We also offer free hearing aid screenings, and our branches are open nationwide!