Excess Noise: Bad for Your Mind and Body
by Amy Scholten, MPH
Patrick and Nancy bought a seaside flat in Scotland. They were hoping for a peaceful retirement. Last year, builders began repair work on the ferry terminal across from their home. Unfortunately, the work could only be done at low tide.
"They would start at 10:00 p.m. and go on for 6 hours," recalls Patrick. "The next night, they would start an hour later. It would last another 6 hours. The noise was tremendous."
The workmen used old and noisy equipment. "It was stressful and we could not sleep," says Patrick. "Each night we would think, 'Is this going to start again tonight?'"
How Noise Affects You Mentally and Physically
It is worth shouting about unwanted noise. There are so many sources. It could be jack-hammering construction workers near your office. It could be your neighbor's 150-decibel sound system. Unwanted noise can lead to mental and physical suffering. In addition to hearing loss, excess noise has been linked to:
Even if we do not pay attention to excess noise, it can be bad for us. It can make the body release more stress hormones.
How to Combat Toxic Noise
Here are some steps to deal with excessive noise:
American Psychological Association
Center for Hearing and Communication
Canadian Academy of Audiology
Barbaresco GQ, Reis AVP, et al. Effects of environmental noise pollution on perceived stress and cortisol levels in street vendors. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2019;82(5):331-337.
Hyperacusis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hyperacusis. Accessed June 10, 2021.
Noise and hearing loss prevention. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/noise. Accessed June 10, 2021.
Noise pollution. US Environmental Protection Agency website. Available at: https://www.epa.gov/clean-air-act-overview/clean-air-act-title-iv-noise-pollution. Accessed June 10, 2021.
Too loud for too long. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/hearingloss/index.html. Accessed June 10, 2021.
Last reviewed June 10, 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 6/10/2021
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