Most gas-powered mowers run at 90-100 dB (decibels). Hearing Loss begins to occur around 110dB with hearing damage with prolonged exposure at only 90 dB.
How Decibels Work
The noise level doubles for every 6dB increase.
Battery-powered mowers operate close to 80db. This means that a difference between a gas and an electric mower can be up to 20dB. An electric mower can be many times quieter than its gas counterpart.
Here is a great video where you can literally hear the difference between an electric mower and a gas mower:
Noise Pollution Has A Cost
Other than hearing loss, loud noises are just annoying. Noise pollution can cause disruption and be an interruption to people trying to focus. This is especially true in a work or learning environment. Sure, you could think of this as a “soft cost” of noise pollution, but if you’ve ever been interrupted during a moment of deep focused work you know how costly and frustrating these interruptions can be.
Even now, just take a moment to make a mental inventory of all the noises you hear. You might be surprised. As I write this, I can hear the refrigerator running. Traffic on the street outside. Someone rolling their garbage can out to the street, the neighbor’s dogs barking just behind our house. The fan on my computer, and the quiet dull hum of my monitor. A train off in the distance, and something that sounds like a faint airplane. The sound of a few text and email notifications from someone else’s phone a few rooms away. It’s not like its the middle of the day either, I’m hearing all these things at 6:37 am. There are so many sounds all around us, all of the time.
High levels of noise pollution have been linked to loss of sleep, cardiovascular disease, higher blood pressure, and other adverse health impacts like high-stress levels. David Olsen, an author who writes about technology states, “Children living in high noise pollution areas have delayed reading ages and diminished attention levels.”
Noises affect our brain’s stress response when we are sleeping even if they don’t wake us up. Inevitably diminishing the quality of our sleep.
In the US, 100 million Americans are exposed to unhealthy levels of noise. While it may be difficult to quantify a precise cost of noise pollution one study attempted to just that from the US National Libary of Medicine concludes, “The analyses suggest that a 5dB noise reduction scenario [in the US]…” would have an “annual economic benefit estimated at $3.9 billion dollars.”
You can read that study here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4819987/
Noise In Cities
Kate Wagner cites in her article from The Atlantic, titled “City Noise Might be Making You Sick,” that people living in cities are regularly exposed (against their will) to noise above 85 decibels with much of urban life sustaining average background noise levels of 60dB.
In fact, a number of cities and municipalities have begun to ban gas-powered leaf blowers. Which is also helpful in curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
Noise Pollution can impact more than just our hearing. It impacts our quality of life and health. Adding economic value and enjoying peace and quiet doesn’t have to be at odds with one another. We can find solutions. Quieter solutions.
By eliminating and reducing noise where you can, you can provide a healthier and happier life for you and your family. And that’s something we can all get behind.