The sound of traffic filtering into your home or noise coming from your loud air conditioner are irritating, but surely they don’t pose any significant health threats… right? Wrong. Noise pollution may seem like nothing more than an annoyance, but it can do a lot more harm than most people realize. From increased stress levels to hearing loss, noise pollution can have some serious effects on your health. To learn about some of the main negative health impacts of noise pollution, continue reading.
Consistent exposure to noise can greatly increase one’s stress levels. Noises trigger the brain’s fight or flight response, which releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream. When exposed to noises on a regular basis, the body constantly releases these hormones. By keeping the body’s stress response constantly activated, exposure to noise pollution can result in high blood pressure, anxiety, and heart problems.
Excess noise can make falling and staying asleep more difficult for many people. Even if you’re able to sleep through the night, noise pollution can trigger the body’s acute stress response, which may reduce the quality of sleep you receive. A lack of quality sleep can have several subsequent effects on your health, such as a weakened immune system, high blood pressure, impaired memory, and increased risk of heart disease. To reduce such health risks, it’s important to take measures to reduce noise pollution in your home, such as installing acoustic mesh panels or mineral wool insulation.
Hearing loss and tinnitus
Most people are aware of the damaging effects of loud noises on one’s eardrums. However, constant exposure to moderate noise levels can also impede one’s hearing over time. Generally, noises that exceed 80 dB are considered harmful. When you’re exposed to moderate noise levels for an extended period, they can result in permanent hearing loss or cause tinnitus—the perception of hearing a ringing in the ears. Examples of noises that are typically around 80 dB include a garbage disposal, city traffic, a vacuum cleaner, or a window air conditioner.