Are you bombarded by noise every day? How this may be impacting your health!
We’ve all had crazy days. The kind where there is noise everywhere. The kids are screaming, the dog is barks all day, the doorbell is ringing, someone has the television is up, one of your kids listens to loud music, the air conditioner is humming, the washer and dryer is running, the dishwasher is going and you’re running the vacuum cleaner. The noise can become deafening and can make you want to scream. In these moments you find yourself needing a few moments away to quiet the chaos in your mind.
When exposed to large amounts of noise without interruption, you can lose your sense of peace and your feeling of well being. Exposure to too much noise effects us, mentally, emotionally and physically. It contributes to chronic stress levels and can steal your health too!
Most are aware that exposure to loud noise can create hearing loss. If you go to excessively loud rock concerts, your ears will probably be buzzing for a while after you leave the show. Factory workers, airline workers and those working in construction must take precautions to protect their hearing daily.
But in everyday life, we come in contact with a great deal of noise. The noise pollution we face can compromise our mental and physical health.
Common sources of noise pollution in the home:
Your washing machine, dryer, mixers, dishwasher, coffee grinders, food processors, microwaves and vacuums all make significant noise.
Television, stereos, video games, computer speakers, mp3 players are regular and repeat offenders. When used with moderate to high volumes, they overly stress the nervous system and contribute to stress.
The people in your home and environement contribute by shouting, crying, singing, clapping, stomping of feet, coughing, sneezing and snoring.
Pets contribute to noise pollution the most by barking, whining, meowing, fighting, panting.
Other common sources of noise in your environment may be toilets flushing, running water, heating and air conditioning systems.
Outside your home:
Loud sounds such as car horns, large trucks, airplanes, motorcycles, helicopters, tractors and buses all contribute highly to the noise pollution problem.
Any outdoor machinery such as generators, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, weed wackers, tractors create noise pollution.
Wherever large groups of people gather, there will usually be aqn excess of noise pollution. Sporting events, concerts, movies, restaurants can all be very loud and overload your system.
But you can be overwhelmed by more that just loud noises. Even small sounds can overwhelm you if you are already overwhelmed by noise pollution. Simple sounds like a faucet dripping, someone chewing food or a clock ticking can further tax your nervous system when it has been stretched thin.
So many of us have become so used to being surrounded by sound on a continuous basis, that we cannot recognize how the overabundance of noise is creating stress and eventually health problems for us.
What the WHO says about noise pollution
Even the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recognize the growing health problem that is created by noise pollution.
According to the World Health Organization’s Guidelines for Community Noise, noise is an increasing public health problem. Noise can have the following adverse health effects: hearing loss; sleep disturbances; cardiovascular and psycho-physiologic problems; performance reduction; annoyance responses; and adverse social behavior.
If you find that small noises are irritating to you, if a ticking clock, or the chewing of a family member is becoming irritating to you, it may be a buildup of stress from all of the noise that you have encountered throughout your day. You must do something to counteract the negative effects of excess sound induced stress in order to protect your health.
What you can do to reduce the stress impact of sound
If you live in an area that experiences a lot of traffic or airport noise, you can counteract that with the use of a white noise machine that can mask some of the detrimental traffic or heavy machinery sounds.
Music is also a powerful tool that can be used for undoing the negative effects of sound pollution. Soft, soothing music on your stereo or mp3 player can actually help to soothe you mentally and help to calm you psychologically. Soothing music, or the sound of rain, or the ocean can also help to improve your mood and help you to concentrate better when working on projects or reading. Amazingly, soft nature sounds or music do not contribute to noise pollution stress, but have a positive psychological effect and can quickly reduce your mental and physical stress.
Taking some quiet time each day can also be very helpful. No television, no loud music…….just silence.
Meditation and deep breathing
Meditation and deep breathing exercises can also be effective in helping you decompress. Both help you let go of some of the excess stress caused by noise pollution.
Also, if you do need to use loud appliances, earplugs can be a great way to reduce the amount of noise that is getting into your system.
If you have problems with sound waking you up while you are sleeping, try using a white noise machine, a fan, or listening to a soothing CD of gentle rain falling, the ocean or other sounds of nature. Earplugs are beneficial in helping to cover excessive traffic noise, or the snoring of a spouse or significant other.
Also, if a family member listens to the television or music too loudly, suggest they use headphones. You can purchase headphones that plug into most televisions and stereo systems for very little, and wireless headphones are available as well.
Be proactive in combating the effects of stress in your life that are caused by noise. Not only will you feel better, but you will find that you have more energy, a better mental attitude and better concentration. You will get much more done and you are guaranteed to by healthier for it!