Noise Induced Health Risks

Noise-Induced Unhealthiness: Do You Show Any Symptoms?

Noise Induced Health Risks – It’s no secret that noise pollution can be harmful to your health, and the World Health Organization (WHO) wants you to know the potential consequences of this invisible pollutant.

Folks who live in urban areas are exposed to dangerously high levels of noise pollution every day, which translates to anything above 55 decibels  roughly the sound equivalent of ordinary conversational speech. Industrial and manufacturing plants, freeway, highways, and air traffic noise, busy restaurants and bars, overcrowded public spaces – all of these and more can add up to noise pollution levels that are making people sick.  Even if you don’t live in the bustling city, you still have a significant chance of  suffering the ill effects of noise pollution.  Simply attending noisy events, such as indoor basketball games and other sporting events, live concerts, an aerobics class at the gym can expose you to high noise levels that contribute to the development of tinnitus, hearing loss, and other health problems associated with noise pollution.

So what does WHO consider to be the top health issues directly related to noise?

Noise Induced Health Risks

Noise Induced Health Risks

1. Tinnitus and noise induced hearing loss are the most common consequences of exposure to noise for long periods of time. Researchers say that exposure to 85 decibels for eight hours or longer can cause serious hearing damage. In case you’re wondering, 85 decibels sounds like a large truck rambling down the highway. Live rock concerts can emit more than 100 decibels continuously, which is why your ears tingle when you leave.  When you develop noise-induced tinnitus, that tingle becomes a constant ringing in your ears that doesn’t go away.

2. Diminished communication skills were found to be the result of prolonged noise exposure.  Noise can lessen our ability to communicate as effectively as we once could. The problem can be so severe, victims of this side-effect of exposure to noise lose the ability to concentrate for long periods of time. They can be more easily prone to confusion, stress,  faltering speech, indecision and impatience.  However, technology is stepping in with some answers. If your hearing is seriously diminished, Apple has an app for that.

3. Sleep disorders can be the result of exposure to high noise levels, which can lead to chronic insomnia, a medical condition that can cause emotional strain, despondency, a sense of dejection, aggressiveness, and antisocial behavior.  When your body’s natural sleep cycle is interfered with, your health is put at risk. When the problem is chronic, it can lead to serious mental and physical illnesses, and even put you at a heightened risk of heart attack.

4. Heart arrhythmia can result from exposure to excess noise, since noise pollution is known to cause sleep disorders, stress, and worsen cardiovascular disease. Elevated heart rates, hypertension, elevated heart rate, and inappropriate triggers of the flight-or-fight response are all common repercussions of exposure to excess noise.

5. Psychiatric disorders, although not caused by exposure to noise, are known to be exacerbated by it. People already suffering from stress and anxiety disorders can experience exaggerated symptoms. When the noise is loud and continuous, it can intensify aggressiveness, mood swings, phobias, and antisocial behavior in the mentally ill. Most alarming is the erosion of well-being that noise pollution can have on unstable or medically weakened children and elderly people, who have a heightened inability to cope with loud sounds.

6. Diminished or lost productivity is an expensive and life altering side effect of noise pollution, which is known to reduce cognitive function. In school children, noise pollution has been proven to interfere with learning, reading skills, information retention and overall academic development and performance. In adults, it negatively affects problem-solving skills, socio-emotional development, work performance and ambition. Businesses lose billions of dollars annually as a result of noise-related lost productivity.

Negative Emotions: Many clinical studies have shown that low frequency noise produces seriously negative emotions in people, including fatigue, despair, aggression, unhappiness, anxiety and distraction. Even though these behavioral changes are most often subtle, they influence the daily behaviors and activities of sufferers and manifest in some unsocial behaviors such as door slamming, being accident prone, and even avoiding neighbors or friends.

You may even know people who exhibit some of the behaviors associated with noise-induced illness, and maybe you identify a few of them in yourself. Become more aware of your surroundings and make a note of any noise exposure you think may be affecting your mood or your health. Wherever possible, make the changes necessary to eliminate excess noise from your environment.

Health Effects and Risks of Noise

Noise Induced Health Risks – Any sudden loud noise triggers our natural fight-or-flight response; the heart pumps harder, blood pressure rises, and the body releases cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones.) It is the inability to predict the sound that will bring on this response, which is why your body does not react similarly when you perform actions that cause loud noise, such as running the vacuum cleaner or revving your car engine. This unexpected and repeated triggering of the fight-or-flight reflex can take a toll on your health and well-being.

Our ancestors used the fight-or-flight instinct to survive; today, it actually has the opposite effect, causing higher rates of anxiety and cardiovascular stress. Researchers have made a direct connection between unwanted ambient noise and increased blood pressure. The higher the noise level, in fact, the higher the risk of hypertension, which is a major cause of heart disease. Studies of the effects of noise on health has researchers estimating that three percent of all fatal heart attacks can be attributed to stress induced by excessive environmental noise.

There are options for reducing the levels of ambient noise from your daily life. Whenever possible, installing sound proofing material like Acoustiblok in new construction and retrofits reduces the effects of ambient noise by up to 70-percent or more. UL-approved Acoustiblok can reduce more sound than 12-inches of concrete.

Noise reducing headphones or ear plugs are quick fixes for blocking unwelcome sound. It is important to take steps toward correcting noise problems in our own environments, whether it means closing windows, replacing noisy appliances or even moving away from noisy train or airport vicinities. As scientists reveal more findings regarding the effects of noise on health, more people are becoming proactive in their own personal zen levels by taking steps to quiet their world.

Noise Induced Health Risks

Noise Induced Health Risks

Loud noise can have serious consequences to an individual’s health and well being. Elevated workplace or other noise can cause hearing impairment, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, stress-related illnesses, premature ejaculation, sleep disturbance, decreased sexual performance and even death. Some experts suggest that changes in the immune system and birth defects have been attributed to noise exposure, although evidence is limited. Although some hearing loss may occur naturally with age, in many developed nations the cumulative impact of noise is sufficient to impair the hearing of a large portion of the population over the course of a lifetime.  Exposure to loud noise has also been known to induce tinnitus, hypertension, vasoconstriction and other cardiovascular impacts. Beyond these effects, elevated noise levels can create stress, increase workplace accident rates, and stimulate aggression and other anti-social behaviors. The most significant culprits are vehicle and aircraft noise, prolonged exposure to loud music, and industrial noise.

The social costs of traffic noise in European countries and the U.S. is in the billions of dollars per year, with traffic noise alone is harming the health of one in every three people in some high-traffic communities. One in five individuals is regularly exposed to sound levels at night that could significantly damage health.

The location of site and noise generators near sites which are noisy include major roads, railroads, industrial plants, etc. Traffic maps and land use maps from highway departments, planning agencies, railroads, and airport authorities may document such noise generators.

Noise is also a detriment to animal habitats and ecosystems.

Acoustiblok All Weather Sound Panels and other noise abatement products are helping industries and individuals combat noise-related problems every day. Acoustiblok’s sound absorption capability is more effective than a 12-inch poured concrete barrier.

Noise Induced Sleep Deprivation is a Global Health Problem

Noise Induced Health Risks – Hoping to find a more targeted approach to helping people who suffer from sleep deprivation,  researchers have been studying the brains of people who are able to sleep through the night even when subjected to noise levels that prevent others from sleeping well.

Are some folks just better wired to block out noise? If so, can the gift nature bestowed on them be used to help others who are struggling with noise-related sleep impairment? As most of us already know, environmental noise can wreak havoc on sleep quality, which can eventually impact our health. In fact, studies showing the heightened incidents of heart attacks in people exposed to noise pollution from excessive road traffic noise note sleep disturbances among those issues that are common to most (if not all) study participants.

According to a 2009 CDC survey, approximately one in 10 Americans report difficulty sleeping. More than 50 million Americans are plagued with chronic sleep disorders that can potentially lead to serious health problems.

Electroencephalography (EEG) testing on 12 healthy people, performed by researchers from Harvard Medical School and  Massachusetts General Hospital, was used in the study to establish sleep quality. By capturing brain wave rhythms through the EEG scans, researchers could identify movements made as each test subject passed from one stage of sleep to the next.

The researchers subjected people to sensory information, including sound, which passes through the thalamus – a structure in the brain that relays sensory and motor signals to the cerebral cortex, and also regulates consciousness, sleep, and alertness. The sound passes through the thalamus before it reaches the brain’s cortex, where communication signals are processed, even during sleep.

Noise Induced Health Risks