Are you bombarded by noise every day? How this may be impacting your health!
Have you ever had one of those days? You know, the kind where the kids are crying, the dogs are barking, you have the vacuum cleaner running, the television is blaring, one of your teenagers had the music up very loudly, the washer and dryer is running and the dishwasher is going. And with all of that sound, you just want to scream. You long for a few moments away to quiet the chaos in your house and in your mind.
When you are being inundated with large amounts of noise without interruption for an extended period of time, it can rob you of your peace of mind and your feeling of well being. Most people are completely unaware of how exposure to too much noise effects us, mentally, emotionally and physically.
Now, most people are aware that exposure to noise that is too loud can create a loss of hearing. If you go to excessively loud rock concerts, your ears will probably be buzzing for a while after you leave the venue. Factory workers, airline workers and those working in construction also need to take precautions to protect their hearing.
But in everyday life, we come in contact with a great deal of noise. This excess can actually work to compromise our mental and physical health.
Some sources of noise pollution that can be found in your home are:
*Appliances such as your washing machine, dryer, mixers, dishwasher, coffee grinders, food processors, microwaves and vacuums all contribute.
*Entertainment sources-Television, stereos, video games, computer speakers, mp3 players. When used with moderate to high volumes, they can have negative effects on us.
*Family-shouting, crying, singing, clapping, stomping of feet, coughing, sneezing and snoring.
*Pets-barking, whining, meowing, fighting, panting.
*Others-toilets flushing, running water, heating and air conditioning systems.
Outside your home:
*Vehicles-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 and such contribute.
*Sporting events, concerts, movies, restaurants can all be very loud and overload your system.
Even the small and irritating sounds like a faucet dripping, someone chewing food or a clock ticking can overwhelm you if you are already overwhelmed by excess noise.
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!