- Everyday noises and inconvenient sounds may not seem like a big deal, but they are.
- In fact, it is reported that noise pollution is responsible for 17% of adult hearing loss.
- Here are 7 critical reasons to actively reduce noise pollution in your life, and some tips on how to make it happen.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “An estimated 12.5% of children and adolescents aged 6–19 years and 17% of adults aged 20–69 years have suffered permanent damage to their hearing from excessive exposure to noise.” If you live in a more urban environment filled with city buses, first responder vehicles from the medical campus down the street, and loud bass music from cars at the stoplight, then you may have more irritants around you. The same, however, can be said for people in rural landscapes who may have herds of animals or your occasional chicken and rooster. Though everyday noises and small irritants may not feel like a big deal, noise pollution can have a pretty negative impact over time. Here are 6 reasons to reduce noise pollution in your life and maintain balanced health moving forward.
1. Noise pollution can cause productivity issues.
Have you ever been distracted by a noise? The hum of the air conditioning unit, the sound of the refrigerator making ice, Sherry from two desks away talking about her malti-poo. Small noises or big disturbances can be insanely disruptive to your workflow, regardless of if you are engaging in a hobby, passion, or career-work.
2. Noise pollution causes hearing loss and tinnitus.
Noise-induced hearing loss is almost unavoidable these days. Whether you’re out and about and a crane hits some scaffolding wrong, the nearby bar unloads their glass recycles into the dumpster area at 6 am, or fireworks are going off, you’ve been exposed to not only the small, annoying sounds of the world but also the loud, incredibly damaging moments.
Tinnitus is that awful ringing you get in your ears every once in a while that has no physical, external source. Some say once you hear it, your ears will never be able to register that particular sound again. Others attribute it to angels singing, or fairies earning their wings. However, it isn’t always the same type of sound – it can be a hissing, humming, chirping, buzzing, whistling, or otherwise – and its origins aren’t quite magical.
Tinnitus triggers as a response to being exposed to loud noise. Some medications list tinnitus as a side effect, so be aware of small print on the labels in your medicine cabinet. It can be short-lived or chronic, and as many as 60 million people suffer from this condition in the United States.
3. Noise pollution directly contributes to sleep issues.
When the environment around you is noisy – or that beautiful little ringing in your ears just won’t quit – then the first physical impact will most likely be on your sleep or ability to rest. Whether urban noises keep you up at night in the concrete jungle, you have small children or a new pet friend, that humming noise from your furnace is getting louder, or otherwise, even minor distractions can be a nuisance and keep you from an already difficult sleep.
There is research to support that you may be even more sensitive to noise interruptions at night than you are during the day. Noise can interrupt your sleep, adjust your sleep stage exposure, and lead to an increase or decrease in hormone production and sleep repair.
4. Noise pollution causes irritable and aggressive behavior. (Even in grown adults.)
If you’re not getting your recommended amount of sleep – or you aren’t able to engage in the full REM cycle on a regular basis – then you’re in for much more than just lack of sleep and exhaustion. Due to exhaustion, your bodily systems might not maintain productive and rhythmic function. Slower reaction times can lead to irritable behavior, aggression, and tense emotions. You may feel out of balance, and it could greatly affect the environment around you.
5. Long term noise exposure can lead to weight gain and type 2 diabetes.
A leading cause of mortality in the United States, type 2 diabetes is nothing to mess around with. However, long-term noise exposure has been linked to the onset type 2 diabetes. This isn’t a surprise at all based on the aforementioned facts, as diabetes and sleep issues often go hand-in-hand.
Weight gain is also a pretty serious implication of noise exposure, and a recent study from the University of Oxford links obesity to long-term traffic noise exposure. The study cites: “Environmental stressors such as transport noise may contribute to development of obesity through increased levels of stress hormones, sleep deprivation and endocrine disruption.”
Needless to say, if you live in a more populated area, it is time to prioritize your sleep like no other.
6. Noise pollution contributes to high blood pressure.
Loud noises can really set your blood pressure sky-rocketing. In urban environments and spaces with more noise pollution, this can happen pretty regularly. This includes – but certainly is not limited to – industrial areas and warehouse districts filled with box trucks and shipping equipment, downtown areas, and nightlife corridors. Many career paths require exposure to loud noises, unloading boxes, construction, and more. Your neighbors with the abundance of fireworks year-round could also be setting off your blood pressure issues, and let’s not forget that gun range down the highway or hunting season options in more rural areas.
7. As a result, many people suffer from heart disease and stroke.
High blood pressure can cause significant damage to your arteries. This damage can dramatically decrease oxygen and blood flow to your heart, which eventually can cause heart disease. In this process, it can damage blood vessels and lead to worsening symptoms. This type of stress can also trigger heart attack, stroke, and other major health issues.
Some simple ways to help reduce your blood pressure include getting regular exercise (about 150 minutes per week, and especially cortisol-conscious workouts), limiting the amount of alcohol you consume, eliminating any smoking or second-hand smoking habits, and incorporating mindfulness into your routine. Speak with your health practitioner if your lifestyle and health are a concern.
To help prevent hearing loss and other issues related to noise pollution, it is advisable to carry a set of earplugs with you at all times, especially if you’re prone to nights out singing karaoke and the occasional concert or live entertainment experience. Activity-specific earmuffs and other options are readily-available at hardware and sporting goods stores. Adding soft surfaces to your home can help reduce reverb, and insulating windows with sealant, drapes, or soundproof curtains can be especially helpful. Check out our curated natural supplement solutions to stress, environmental toxins, and more!