Why Noise Hurts Our Health and What You Can Do

What is the noise level in your home? It is estimated that noise levels in the United States increased more than 11 percent between 1986 and 1996.

Prolonged exposure to noise can cause impaired intellectual performance and learning ability, higher blood pressure, and lowered tolerance of frustration.

Individual differences in response to noise are striking, but the negative impact of noise is usually because of two reasons. Understanding what these reasons are will help you have a less stressful response to noise pollution and guide you to make positive noise choices.

Adverse reactions to noise arise predominantly from two factors:
1. The perceived inability to control your exposure, and

2. Translating the noise to be threatening important personal needs or goals.

In both instances, perceiving noise as a noxious quality of the environment, while often subjectively based, may still trigger stress-related effects.

In regard to #1, work out what you can and cannot control when it comes to noise exposure. Make a list. Work out compromises with family members regarding the volume level of television and music. Pay attention to noises that bother you, such as from appliances (as when the refrigerator runs). Maybe the appliance needs a tune up? Problem solve.

The second adverse reaction to noise relates to how you feel threatened by the noise. Again, prioritize the noise problems and address those that are the most threatening to you first. For example, if your spouse leaves the television on at night and it interferes with your ability to sleep, you need to work out a solution with him or her. Or, for another example, if one child in your household canít do their homework when the other is practicing the drums, a schedule needs to be implemented that will allow for both.

Adapted from The Power of Sound, by Joshua Leeds (Healing Arts Press, 2001). Copyright (c) 2001 by Joshua Leeds. Reprinted by permission of Inner Tradtions.
Adapted from The Power of Sound, by Joshua Leeds (Healing Arts Press, 2001).

13 comments

Tammy Baxter
Tammy B.3 years ago

thanks

Aud Nordby
Aud nordby3 years ago

ty

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola4 years ago

Thanks for the article, a really interesting

Victor C.
Past Member 4 years ago

I hate haate hate the ghetto speakers!!!!!!!!Boom Boom Boom all day makes me wanna shoot somebody!!!!!!!

Pat W.
Pat W.4 years ago

Noise can be distracting...stressful

Butterfly K.
Butterfly K4 years ago

I'm lucky I live in a very quiet area-the bush & try to meditate to get that extra bit of silence, great article

Ann Eastman
Ann Eastman5 years ago

"Content" of noise can be an important variable. I have a difficult time staying in a room when a TV is turned to "action" movies- the sounds of brakes squealing, people screaming, sounds of flesh being struck, gunshots, etc, trigger a very definite stress response in me.

Ann Eastman
Ann Eastman5 years ago

"Content" of noise can be an important variable. I have a difficult time staying in a room when a TV is turned to "action" movies- the sounds of brakes squealing, people screaming, sounds of flesh being struck, gunshots, etc, trigger a very definite stress response in me.

Kerrie G.
Kerrie G.5 years ago

Very enlightening, thanks for the ideas.

jill bukovnik
jill Campbell5 years ago

We have 18 dogs in 7 houses, in half a block and they're all living in front of us. The noise when the owners let all the dogs out at once can be deafening. The 7 houses all have adjoining fences and the dogs see each other through the fences and go wild.
I've talked with each owner, which helps for about 3 days, I've called dog control... they only give a warning... I bought a sonic bird house, I think I need 4 more (at 69.95 ea.) to make it work.
We've got our townhouse up for sale and decided to move to Vancouver Island.
That is our solution.... follow our dream, now.