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.