Residents of New York file complaint against excessive airplane noise

October 14, 2014 |

There’s no denying that planes can be loud. Those who spend a lot of time traveling have experienced the high decibel levels aircraft project, and so do those who live in the areas surrounding airports. In fact, some residents in Queens, New York, have solicited help from politicians to minimize the amount of noise pollution from low-flying planes they are exposed to.

The problem

In the past few years, a group of residents from Queens have banned together to create Queens Quiet Skies, an advocacy group dedicated to fighting against aviation noises and air pollution around the neighborhood. Now, through frequent protesting and attempts to bring local representatives on board with their cause, State Senator Tony Avella has filed an official complaint against the Federal Aviation Administration in hopes of rerouting planes and eliminating the usage of older jets that produce auditory damaging decibel levels.

Members of Queens Quiet Skies and Avella himself have reported that they’ve routinely measured the decibel levels low-flying planes generate throughout Queens, routinely finding them to be well over 85 dBs, which is when hearing damaging noises can be produced. The protesters are insisting that everything from work productivity to the teaching of local students is being affected by the excessive aviation sounds, and roundtable discussions are now being set up between residents and the FAA to see what sort of changes could be made.

The risks

While it remains to be seen whether certain air travel changes will be made to the Queens region, these accusations are bringing awareness to an often overlooked element of travel. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, a jet engine can create noises of more than 140 dB, well beyond what’s considered to be the beginning of excessively loud sounds. In addition to potential hearing loss, it’s important for travelers to be aware of other auditory symptoms that can be experienced while on a plane. A few ailments that the Mayo Clinic lists as probable flight-induced hearing ailments include:

  • Extended moments of muffled hearing
  • Spinning sensations or symptoms of vertigo
  • Extreme pressure endured in the ear
  • Constant ringing or popping sensations

The tips

Before you embark on international travel, corporate travel or vacation getaways, there are many remedies you can perform during your flight to reduce your risk of ear aches or hearing loss. For starters, wearing a set of earplugs during takeoff or landing can help decrease the dB levels your ears are exposed to by as many as 25 dB. Changes in atmospheric pressure or altitude can produce pain sensations within the ear for most people. Columbia University suggests coping techniques such as swallowing, chewing gum, yawning, exhaling through nostrils and sucking on hard candy as potentially alleviating tactics that can be beneficial. Make sure you’re taking care of your ears during air travel to ensure that hearing loss is never a part of your vacations.