Noise pollution. When you live in New York, there is no way getting around it.
My block features all the usual suspects: a family (hopefully neither frum nor Jewish) that screams at top volume all evening long (we're talking major "vocalizing" for hours upon end), yappy dogs who are incited by said family screaming, construction/weed wackers daily, the non-stop honking of the local impatient drivers from dawn until well past midnight, sirens (I'm near a Hatzalah station), the train running a few blocks away (I can see it from my window), my other neighbours who play electric guitar all evening long, etc. etc. My personal favourite? The occupants of the front apartment who scream to each other while their door is open and/or people stand in the doorway.
I typically combat all of the above by wearing earplugs to try and buffer some of the volume. Tonight's concert of screaming/vocalizing/guitar playing easily penetrated the sanctuary of the earplugs, but that's par for the course. I have half a mind to get a decibel reader so that I can chart the volume of each. Suffice it to say that with all this going on, after my 3 years in New York, I have definitely sustained some hearing loss.
Unfortunately, you have the times when the noise is just inescapable. Yesterday I went to the green grocer, and they had a speaker outside on top of the produce BLARING. It was excruciatingly loud, not to mention tuned to a rock station. My tinnitus went through the roof, but I didn't think anything of it, because I had blocked my left ear (the one closer to the speaker) while bagging the produce. Until I got home and noticed that suddenly my right ear hears significantly less than my left ear.
All day today I was vigilant with earplugs, but can't shake the blocked up feeling or the pain in my right ear. So I sucked it up and made an appointment for tomorrow at the ENT. Wish me luck. I figure I can make it a two for- maybe he can check out how my sinuses are doing during allergy season, post-sinus infection.
Anyhow, please wish me luck and feel free to daven for me.