To mark Deaf Awareness Week, research has been carried out into the level of noise pollution from road traffic in different parts of the UK. A town in Hampshire is among the worst.
Data from the European Environment Agency shows that Southampton has one of the highest percentages of residents exposed to dangerous road traffic in the country. 29,300 residents are thought to live with dangerous levels of road noise pollution.
This equates to 8.57% of the population exposed and places Southampton as the 12th worst area in the UK. Other southern regions that were on the list include Hastings in Sussex and Oxford.
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The Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) points out that 85 decibels is a harmful noise level. However, other studies have shown that sounds as low as 65 decibels can be harmful to health.
Overall, around 8.3% of the UK population is exposed to daytime noise pollution from road traffic. But there are measures that can reduce the risk of harm.
Asa Richards, audiologist at Hearmore UK, says isolation could benefit many owners. “If your home is not properly insulated, you risk losing heat and being exposed to noise pollution. A cheaper alternative to insulating your home could be installing acoustic curtains or hanging fabric wall hangings to further absorb vibrations coming from outside.”
Other strategic measures include using noise-canceling headphones if you work in a very noisy area like a factory, or playing music at a low level to block out disruptive noise levels. For those working from home, preventative strategies include positioning your office on the quieter side of your home.
The complete list of the 15 cities most polluted by road traffic noise:
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