Units in Progress

I’m planning e-learning units on environmental noise and science-based healthy limits. The collective international science proves loud unhealthy rural and urban environmental noise is an urgent public communication, mental, physical, and hearing health crisis.

I’ll be using key international noise-related science, but easy to read and understand.

Each unit will be about 10 to 15 minutes long, and can be done alone or in a series. Most will be free.

Current units in progress include:

  • How to measure noise using a sound level meter mobile app
  • Personal listening and how to protect hearing health
  • Modern hearing protection for all ages
  • Cinema noise facts
  • e-Cigarette ototoxic vape juice hearing health risks
  • How governments could prevent and control community noise so it meets international healthy limits
  • Special interest group involvement in noise science (e.g. pharmaceutical companies)
  • Skyrocketing healthcare costs from chronic environmental noise

Is there a hearing health or environmental noise e-learning topic you’re interested in?

Please leave a comment or contact me author@janlmayes.com

Why e-Learning?

Too many hearing health and environmental noise myths are being spread by media, governments, and corporations. Governments are almost completely ignoring noise prevention and control. Important World Health Organization international science is ignored. Noise causes:

  • Communication breakdowns in noisy public environments
  • More breakdowns for everyone with quiet communication needs, e.g. autism, history of concussion or head injury, slow cognitive processing (children to elders even with normal hearing), or any type of hearing loss
  • If exposed to chronic environmental noise during pregnancy, babies are born with problems, e.g. low-birthweight
  • Infants grow up with delayed language and learning
  • Children to adults suffer chronic mental and physical health problems
  • Poor mental health, e.g. higher risk of anxiety, depression, dementia
  • Current science links chronic environmental noise with higher risk of hyperactivity and aggression
  • Poor physical health, e.g. higher risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, heart attacks, stroke
  • Everyone dies early from chronic noise stress

Hearing Health Risk

If loud enough, environmental noise also causes permanent progressive hearing health damage.

On World Hearing Day, March 3, 2019, media shared articles stating 85 dBA average noise level is safe for 8 hours of listening. This is not factual.

Science from the Environmental Protection Agency (1974) to the World Health Organization (2018) confirm that 75 dBA average noise level is safe for 8 hours of listening. One of my e-learning units will debunk the 85 dBA myth.

Auditory Safe Listening Limit by Average Noise Level

Average Noise LevelAuditory Safe Listening Limit
90 dB Leq15 minutes
87 dB Leq30 minutes
84 dB Leq1 hour
81 dB Leq2 hours
78 dB Leq4 hours
75 dB Leq8 hours

Average Noise Level = continuous equivalent noise level [3 dB exchange rate]

Originally published as Table 2 in Mayes, Jan L. (2019, Feb 18). Urban noise levels are high enough to damage auditory sensorineural health. Sound and the Healthy City, special issue of the Cities and Health Journal, Routlegdge. DOI 10.1080/23748834.2019.1577204

Noise Related PDFs

2018 World Health Organization Environmental Noise Guidelines

2018 World Health Organization Biological Mechanisms Related to Cardiovascular and Metabolic Effects by Environmental Noise

2017 World Health Organization Global Costs of Unaddressed Hearing Loss

2017 City of Toronto (Canada) Environmental Noise

2015 Low Frequency Noise Health Impact

2015 Coping with Noise: Consensus Paper on the effects of noise in the world

2014 European Environmental Agency Noise in Europe – Noise in Figures

2014 The Ear Foundation The Real Cost of Adult Hearing Loss

2012 World Health Organization (WHO) global estimates on prevalence of hearing loss

2011 World Health Organization Burden of Disease from Environmental Noise (quantification of healthy life years lost)

2005 EU Noise Risk Observatory Report

2002 European Noise Directive (END)

1999 World Health Organization Guidelines for Community Noise

1998 (Oct) Summary: Average Speech Levels in Various Listening Conditions

1998 NIOSH Occupational Noise Exposure: Criteria for a Recommended Standard (CDC)

Note page 24, Table 3-4, far right column, 1-2-3-4-kHz definition after working lifetime of occupational noise exposure, NIOSH 1997:

80 dB = 1% of unprotected workers at risk of noise-induced hearing loss

85 dB = 8% of unprotected workers at risk of noise-induced hearing loss

90 dB =25% of unprotected workers at risk of noise-induced hearing loss

1991 (Nov). Suter, A. Noise and Its Effects. Administrative Conference of the United States.

1983 Office of Noise Abatement and Control, Environmental Protection Agency

Defunded by U.S. government.

1972 – 1982 Selected publications from the Office of Noise Abatement and Control, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (includes aircraft related).

1981 (July) Noise Effects Handbook, Office of Noise Abatement & Control, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S.

1974 (March) Environmental Protection Agency. Information on Levels of Environmental Noise Requisite to Protect Public Health and Welfare with an Adequate Margin of Safety.

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.