Now hear this: The sound of stress - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Now hear this: The sound of stress

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

The government takes noise in the workplace seriously, and health experts say the rest of us should do the same while at home and at play.

Research shows noise can impact both our hearing and our health.

"The noise can cause a stress, and the stress can affect the physiological problems," according to Dr. Jan Boger, director of the USF Hearing and Balance Center.

Studies show chronic noise around us can raise heart rates and blood pressure.  It can also make us uncomfortable at work, causing issues like carpal tunnel syndrome and shoulder problems.

"There gets to be a habit of tolerating noise, and we tend to learn to ignore it," said Dr. Loren Bartels, director of Tampa General Hospital's Tampa Bay Hearing and Balance Center.

The amount of noise that is around us is substantially louder than it was 40 to 50 years ago.

"It appears those affects are cumulative over time," Bartels said. "The more noise exposure you have, you lose ability to understand in background noise, and then you lose the ability to hear in quiet."

OSHA Rules say anyone listening to sounds louder than 85 decibels (dB) should wear hearing protection.

Using an IPhone and a Decibel Meter App, we measured sounds around us.

Traffic hummed along in the 70dB range, and peaked around 85dB, and got even louder when we got close to a city bus.

On a local construction site, tractors and handheld tools measured louder than 90dB.

Far away, a riding lawnmower was 80dB far away.  Up close, it was louder than 100dB.

"One of the things that intrigues me is we don't recognize chronic but it does have an effect on our behavior that we don't recognize," Bartels said.

"NASCAR fans, people who like to shoot skeet or are hunters, you'd be surprised, even some of the things we have at home like lawnmowers, hair dryers, leaf rakes, they all have pretty intense sounds," Boger said.

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