Background Noise in Construction: How It Affects Your Hearing and the Way You Think

EarWorking in construction means exposing yourself to several dangers. From slips and falls with injuries from falling objects, it’s a dangerous place, but some of the risks may be a bit more subtle. In this day and age where mass constructions and widespread industrialization is the norm, the dangers may not be from falling objects but from the intensity of the sounds. notes that although construction noise is normal and almost part of working on a project, not many take its potentially hazardous side effects seriously. The construction workers themselves are the most susceptible here, and it isn’t just their hearing that’s negatively affected by noise pollution.

Ringing Ears and Headaches

The ringing sensation when you hear the horrid sound of metal grinding and clanking isn’t just due to irritation, it’s an effect of the pain in your ear going above the threshold of how much it can take. The hair cells in our ears are very sensitive to noise, and being subject to loud and intense noises for long periods of time permanently damages them. Since these can’t grow back, you’ll start developing a host of hearing problems. In worse cases, it might even lead to partial or full loss of hearing.

Apart from hearing problems, you’ll also have a more difficult time communicating with one another either due to the loud noises themselves or the headaches it causes. This may not seem as serious as hearing loss, but if you’re working on a busy construction project, misunderstandings can be costly and even life threatening. Intense noises can also cause migraines to develop, which are very deadly as they can be disorienting.

Noise and Behavior

Loud noises can also cause a host of psychological problems and negatively affect your emotional health. Our body associates loud noises as a danger, and we interpret this as a natural stress response even if we know that there’s no immediate danger. Apart from muscle tensing and blood pressure rising, noise also increases our aggression while decreasing our helpful behavior. It also affects how we think rationally as the body is busy responding to the ‘danger’ it’s hearing. If you’re working in construction and you find yourself increasingly irritable and cranky, then the noise is getting to you.

Avoiding noise is difficult, especially when you’re working on a construction project, but there are many ways you can reduce your exposure to it. If you’re working and you need to stay focused on your job, wearing ear plugs or ear muffs reduces the amount of noise you are subject to. You should also allot some time for yourself to rest, away from loud noises. Even a light thirty-minute stroll down the park can help you cope with intense noises when you get back to work.

About the Author

As a New York-based psychologist. Thelma Scott has conducted several seminars tackling adult autism.