Noise Pollution Health Effects

Exposure to common, everyday noises like traffic and air traffic can raise our chances of developing coronary disease.

Noise pollution is probably one of the least regarded forms of pollution there is. When you hear the word pollution, you probably think of air pollution in the form of smog from cars or factories. Noise pollution is not something many of us stop to think about let alone consider something harmful. After all, what we can’t see won’t hurt us, right? Turns out that noise pollution is not just an annoyance, it’s legitimately harmful to our health.

A quick search for “noise pollution health effects” reveals some scary findings on what constant noise pollution does to the human body. Numerous studies conducted worldwide have shown that long-term exposure to very common noises such as traffic noise, aircraft, and loud music is a serious contributor to coronary disease, high blood pressure, and depression. Then there’s the damage it can do to your hearing and sleeping habits.

Small Changes Can Have Big Effects

But as surprising as some of these effects are, it’s also interesting to note that even a slight reduction in noise levels can have an impact on reducing such previously mentioned health effects. This article featured on cites an analysis which found that even a 5-decibel reduction could reduce cases of high blood pressure by 1.4% and coronary heart disease by 1.8%. Doesn’t sound like much, but if anything, it shows a possible correlation between noise level reduction and lowering of instances of these health problems.

Reducing the Risks

So it’s clear that noise pollution is a real threat to our health. That said, how do we reduce the risks of exposure to noise pollution? We could just pack up and move to the countryside, but that just isn’t viable for many of us. Besides, studies have shown that noise pollution is increasing everywhere. Road and air traffic are increasing even outside of major towns and cities. It’s getting harder and harder to escape noise pollution.

Soundproofing & Sound Treatment

Soundproofing or sound treating your home is one of the best ways to minimize the effects of noise pollution. Acoustic treatments such as acoustic tiles and insulation can drastically quieten your home. Good quality materials always come at a price. Some cheaper and faster solutions can be found in our earlier article on How to Soundproof a Room CheapNoise reduction could be as simple as rearranging the furniture in a room, for instance.

If acoustic treatment sounds like too much work, relief from unwanted noise can come in the form of a simpleset of ear plugs, or a decent set of noise-canceling headphones. I was recently given a set of Bose Quietcomfort 35’s for my birthday. They are absolutely fantastic at blocking out traffic noise while I work from home.

So, the take-home from all of this is that noise pollution is a genuine threat to our well-being and livelihoods. It’s often overlooked or scoffed at, but it’s clear that it’s affecting the health of millions of people around the world, but there are some quick and easy things we can do to reduce its negative effects. If you have any more suggestions as to how to lower the impact of noise pollution, please leave a comment below!

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