Seeing noise differently in lockdown

Working from home
Background noise. Working from home.

At The Hearing Clinic we’re very focused on noise. After all, very loud noise experienced at work or during leisure pursuits can cause irreversible hearing damage – something we often see in our clients.

Few people probably realise that noise is considered pollution but the World Health Organisation has stated that noise pollution is the second most dangerous environmental risk factor for humans after air pollution.

The world goes quiet

We’ve been watching with interest the noise-related side effects of the last year’s lockdowns across the world. Like many people, we were amazed at the photos of usually-bustling city centres reduced to silence – particularly when wild animals began to roam through these empty spaces.

Scientists and researchers across the world have excitedly studied this unique phenomenon – dubbed ‘global quieting’ by National Geographic – and have noted extraordinary drops in noise. Some Parisian suburbs experienced a drop in noise levels of up to 90% while UK studies showed that noise dropped by as much as half.

At home it’s a different story

Of course, the flip side has been that many of us have moved to working from home, and even to juggling work and home schooling, forcing the noise to become more localised. With home life, work life and, in millions of cases, school life happening in the same space, it’s put huge pressure on families. One of those pressures is trying to maintain a professional work face on Zoom or Teams when the kids may be bickering, or your spouse is loudly contributing to a videocall in the next door room.

Video conferencing has become a fact of life during the past year, and it’s been fascinating too to watch how technology has been adapting to make homeworking easier. One recent development we like is Yabber, an app that mutes background noise when you’re on videocalls. Yabber ensures that whatever is going on around you – a crying baby, a barking dog or a neighbour doing DIY – doesn’t make it onto your call, so you’re better able to maintain a professional front.

What tech works for you?

We’d love to find out if you’ve discovered a particularly helpful app or technology that’s got you and your family through the challenges of lockdown, particularly if you’re hearing impaired.

If you feel that your hearing isn’t as good as it used to be, don’t leave it any longer to have a hearing test. At The Hearing Clinic, we’re running Covid-safe appointments, so call our expert team at The Hearing Clinic on 01923 372101 (Radlett) or 01462 506074 (Hitchin) to book your hearing test.  Or click here to fill in our contact form.

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