April 28, 2021, marks the 26th Annual International Noise Awareness Day, founded by the Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC) in New York, a leading nonprofit hearing healthcare organization since 1910. The goal of International Noise Awareness Day (INAD) is to raise awareness about the harmful effects of noise on hearing, health and the quality of life. We are honored to participate in The International Year of Sound with our shared goal of improving the understanding of the importance of sound in our lives and the deleterious effects of unwanted noise.
Over the past year, as our lives have been upended with an unprecedented pandemic, our day-to-day experiences have changed drastically. Around the globe there were lockdowns. Work was halted, schools were closed. Many of us experienced a change in our soundscape with lower noise levels due to stay-at-home orders and a decrease in noise from transportation and industrial and recreational activities. During the height of COVID in NYC, the daily barrage of ambulance sirens elicited emotions of dread, while the nightly banging of pots and pans and cheers for frontline workers was a moment of celebration and hope.
This past year had a significant impact on people with hearing loss. Almost overnight, communication shifted from in-person to various forms of virtual spaces, and with the use of facemasks and social distancing, communication has become increasingly difficult. For the 1.5 billion people worldwide who live with some degrees of hearing loss (WHO Deafness and hearing loss, 2021, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/deafness-and-hearing-loss), the use of face masks and social distancing, while critical to slow the spread of COVID-19, has made communication almost impossible. Facemasks not only muffle speech, but also create communication difficulties for someone with hearing loss who may be relying on lipreading and facial cues to understand a conversation. As we all began social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, it became evident just how essential hearing and good communication are to staying engaged and connected.
Noise matters. Noise impacts all aspects of our lives – our physical well-being, our mental health, our learning, our quality of life and our connections with others. This INAD I encourage you to participate in your community’s efforts to raise awareness of the impact of noise. Partners around the world have celebrated this day with activities meaningful for their communities – from school poster contests to seeking changes in local noise legislation. INAD is a day we can all reflect on how the soundscape has had an impact on our lives. Take action. Be part of the movement – noiseawareness.org.
On behalf of the Center for Hearing and Communication, I invite you to join the International Commission for Acoustics and all the partners globally on INAD and throughout The International Year of the Sound to raise awareness about the importance of sound in our lives, the need to protect our hearing across the lifespan and to promote the message that sound and noise matters to us all.
Deputy Executive Director,
Center for Hearing and Communication
Source: Nancy Nadler
Source Location: https://chchearing.org/noise/day/
© 2017-2021 International Commission for Acoustics