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For children, recurring exposure to
clanging toys and video games, booming
MP3 players and iPods, and ear-splitting concerts adds up. Health Canada (www.hc-sc.
gc.ca) advises parents to avoid buying toys
that produce excessively high sound levels.
The agency points out that children may hold
toys closer to their ears than adults. AVAILABLE NOW
ommend using the lowest setting). Operating a
power drill, though, at 100 dB, for an hour, perhaps in a small workspace where sound reverberates, can lead to trouble. So can the repetitive
racket of lawn mowers and leaf blowers.
Turn it down
What to do? Once we understand the
potential damage these various activities can
cause, we must protect ourselves, says Hughes.
To combat the aural assault, he advises that
unless exposure is going to be “very brief and
very rare,” ear protection should be worn.
Health Canada adds this advice: If you are
exposed to an intense sound such as a rifle or
firecracker, stay in a relatively quiet place for
24 hours to rest the affected ear(s). If your
hearing hasn’t recovered fully after a day, contact your doctor.
And after our hearing is taken care of,
George Prochnik, author of In Pursuit of
How loud is it?
ROCKET LAUNCH 180dB
12-GAUGE SHOTGUN 156dB
JET PLANE 120dB
ROCK CONCERT 112dB
LEAF BLO WER 105dB
70dB WASHING MACHINE
50dB 75dB 100dB 125dB 150dB 180dB
Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of
Noise (Doubleday, 2010), suggests we then
look around for ways to address the overall
volume in our world. He promotes a pro-silence approach.
Prochnik is a big fan of pocket parks—
also known as miniparks and vest-pocket
parks—tiny oases carved out of vacant lots,
which promote refreshment and retreat amid
a neighbourhood’s clamour. “We make more
progress by switching our focus away from
noise and toward silence,” he concludes.
How about a (quiet) round of applause
for that? C
Penny Musco blogs about a variety of topics at