Those living in urban environments worldwide are at especially high risk of long-term hearing damage from everyday noise.
Noise pollution control is a major challenge for those living in today’s urban environments. From airplanes to street sweepers to garbage trucks and more, urban dwellers face a sometimes chaotic auditory environment. The effect can be unsettling or even unhealthy in some cases. As a recent article in The Atlantic notes this regarding noise pollution in cities:
“People living in cities are regularly exposed (against their will) to noise above 85 decibels from sources like traffic, subways, industrial activity, and airports. That’s enough to cause significant hearing loss over time. If you have an hour-long commute at such sound levels, your hearing has probably already been affected. Urban life also sustains average background noise levels of 60 decibels, which is loud enough to raise one’s blood pressure and heart rate, and cause stress, loss of concentration, and loss of sleep.”
In honor of International Noise Awareness Day on April 24th, 2019, we’ve compiled a series of statistics and useful information related to the Dangers of Noise Pollution.
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Disengagement from the Outside World in Today’s Cities
While municipalities work to reduce noise sources through legislation, many individuals seek their own solutions. As such, a large percentage of commuters and city dwellers now spend much of their day with headphones on.
Writing about New York City, Mashable writer Brett Williams notes the phenomenon of the headphone-wearing masses:
“New York City is never quiet, but most of the city’s residents prefer to walk around with their own private soundtrack blaring in their ears. Nearly everyone you see on the street is perpetually in an aural bubble, separate from the outside world.”
In this scenario headphone-wearers are simply masking the sounds of urban and industrial noise with more noise. Not only does this cause social isolation, it typically increases the risk of long-term hearing damage.
IQbuds and BOOST: A Better Noise Pollution Solution
IQbudsTM and IQbuds BOOST are intelligent hearing devices that enable an augmented hearing experience. Using patented SINCTM technology, users have a never-before-seen (or heard!) capacity to turn down much of the noise of the physical world around them, while enhancing speech and the sounds they want to hear. The result is an intelligent means of noise pollution control.
Additionally, personalized tap touch controls enable users to instantly switch their hearing profiles on the fly. By selectively allowing in certain noise frequencies, IQbudsTM prevent social isolation and help maintain situational awareness, even while listening to music or other digital audio. With the tap of the ear, a wearer can:
- Switch profile modes ‘street’ mode to ‘office,’ ‘driving,’ etc.
- Pause or play music
- Pick up or hang up phone calls
- Turn on/off the noise of the surrounding physical world
This combination of features is why Brett Williams later wrote in his article for Mashable that IQbudsTM might be “the perfect (earbuds) for city life” and that they are “a class above just about anything else I’ve ever put in my ears.”
Below are more excerpts from his experience controlling noise pollution IQbudsTM on the streets of New York City:
“The buds have a killer feature that’s particularly valuable in the city — you can choose to turn the world on and off. The augmented hearing functions, activated via a simple tap, can be used to tune into the scene around you just as well as its noise-cancelling setting shuts sound out. Speech amplification can home in on someone’s voice to help you make out exactly what they’re saying over the constant noise in the background.
I first experienced this on a crowded subway, totally by accident. I set the buds to their “Street” setting in their companion app (other modes include Home, Office, Workout, and Plane) and paused my music for a moment. I was able to hear the conversation going on four people away from me as clearly as if they were speaking directly to me. (Serial eavesdroppers, these are definitely the headphones for you.)
I’ve also used the setting to pick up friends’ voices better on a busy street. Instead of asking them to speak up, I was able to tap my right ear to help boost their voices above the din.”
— Tech Junkie (@techjunkiejh) October 29, 2017