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Is Noise Pollution Damaging Your Health?

By on September 10, 2013

Noise pollution isn’t something most of us are entirely unfamiliar with. We hear noises, both wanted and unwanted on a daily basis. The real question is now you choose to deal with noise. Noise that isn’t bothersome or that goes away quickly should never cross your mind. But persistent noise you attempt to ignore or adapt to could have some rather damaging impacts on your health.

Unwanted Noise Causes Stress

You can’t really avoid noise. Most of us take action to reduce it or attempt to adapt to it. It is adaptation that tends to cause us the most issue, as the process doesn’t really take away the direct impact of the sound. Over time, attempting to adapt to noise can cause a lot of stress. Stress leads to a lot of negative health effects, including loss of sleep, fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, and more. Another problem with stress is the way the body reacts to it, by releasing adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones are meant to be short-term, but long-term exposure to noise means you’re constantly in a heightened state. Over time, you could end up with heart conditions related to stress as well.

Hearing Disorders

Continuous exposure to noise pollution can have a negative impact on your hearing as well. Continuous exposure to loud sound levels, (80 decibels or higher) can cause damage within your ears. Eventually you will have trouble hearing the television or radio, turning it up higher and higher as you age. Left untreated, you could end up having trouble hearing during normal conversations. You can avoid this type of complication by wearing protective gear when at concerts or when working in loud areas. Headphones and earplugs are required in some workplaces, but certainly can’t hurt you in others.

Disrupted Sleep Patterns

We all have trouble sleeping from time to time, but sleep that is regularly disrupted can have negative long-term effects as well. You really do need a good solid night of uninterrupted sleep to function at your best. When you are frequently awakened, your body can’t go through the proper stages of sleep – especially REM – which is what often leads people to start thinking about soundproofing to begin with. Eventually, you’ll start to have problems with your blood pressure, your heart rate, and other cardiac functions. You may also begin to feel tired during the day, generally depressed, and unable to function properly at work.

Noise pollution is, unfortunately, still a bit of a joke to some people. The reality is that it’s serious business. Take care of the little things that are bothering you so that you can live a quieter, healthier life.

Image credit – Wikimedia Commons

About Faye Sparks