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Preventing the effects of environmental noise on health


Environmental noise can cause many health problems. There is no way of knowing to what extent your ears are sensitive to noise. Prevention is the only way to protect yourself against hearing loss due to noise. To learn more about health problems related to noise, read The effects of environmental noise on health.

Precautions regarding listening to music

Listening to music at a very high volume can be dangerous to hearing. Here is how to prevent hearing loss when listening to music:

  • Select the lowest possible listening volume. The volume is too high if a person standing a metre away must yell in order to be heard.
  • Limit the time you spend listening to loud music.
  • Protect yourself when you are in a place where the music is played at a level that is dangerous; if you must yell to be heard by people that are a metre from you, for example. You can ask for the volume to be lowered, step away from the sound source or wear ear plugs.
  • Spend several hours of quiet time, without noisy activity, to allow your ears to recover, especially if you have temporary loss of hearing. The longer and more intense the exposure to noise has been, the longer you should let your ears rest.
  • See a doctor or an audiologist if the temporary loss of hearing lasts beyond the next day or if you experience persistent tinnitus.

Choice of toys with sound for children (0 to 3 years old)

Good hearing is important to the language acquisition and development of children. Some toys emit very high sounds, which can reach up to 100 dBA. Such toys can be dangerous to children’s hearing. Parents and childcare workers must:

  • Choose toys that produce little noise or can have their volume adjusted.
  • Pay particular attention to toys with batteries because they are often noisy.
  • Supervise the use of toys with sound to prevent children from bringing them too close to their ears.

Preventing neighbourhood noise

Neighbourhood noise has direct impact on the quality of your life and that of your neighbours.

For a pleasant neighbourhood soundscape, it is best to avoid making too much noise at all times of the day. Each person is responsible for minimizing the noise he or she makes both inside and outside of his or her home. Respecting one’s neighbours is important. You can contribute to this by lowering the volume of your music or television and using appliances that make little noise. You can also limit the noise made by your pets to avoid disturbing your neighbours. Make sure you use quieter appliances outdoors during quiet and sleeping times.

Many municipalities have noise regulations, especially regarding hours permitted for outdoor work. Contact your municipality to know the regulations in place.

Complaints regarding environmental noise

It is possible to lodge complaints about environmental noise. To learn more, visit En savoir plus sur les droits relatifs au bruit This hyperlink will open in a new window. (in French only) page of Services Québec.

For further information

If you have questions regarding hearing problems (permanent or temporary hearing loss and tinnitus) which you think are due to exposure to noise, call Info-Santé 811.

Last update: June 16, 2022


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