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Five ways noise pollution affects our wellbeing
While the sound of birds chirping, waves crashing onto the beach and even the rain hitting our windows are often classed as relaxing, unfortunately, we’re exposed to a number of sounds at home and in the workplace which are anything but.
Whether it’s a nearby train station, planes flying overhead, the neighbours having a party or someone repeatedly clicking their pen, any of these sounds are normally enough to drive us to distraction.
Aside from being irritating and distracting, did you know that noise pollution can actually have a detrimental impact on our wellbeing? Noise can in fact produce a number of adverse effects on physical health and overall psychological wellbeing and below we have listed five of the reasons why.
While it’s obvious that noise pollution can affect our sleep, concentration and communication, few people are aware that it can also be bad for your heart. A study carried out by the Harvard and Boston School of Public Health has linked exposure to aircraft noise to an increased risk of stroke, coronary heart disease
and cardiovascular disease.
The reason is because noise is often interpreted as a danger signal by our brain. These signals provoke a stress response in the body which release a number of hormones. These hormones can spike blood pressure, increase the heart rate and even depress the immune system. Over time, these stress responses can have a negative impact on the cardiovascular system.
While diabetes is typically associated with being overweight, Danish researchers have found that noise from busy roads increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. For every 10-decibel increase of road noise, it has been found to increase the risk by between eight and 11 percent. It’s believed this is because noise interrupts sleep, stops us entering deep sleep cycles and increases stress due to annoyance.
Noise pollution has been found to trigger such a powerful emotional response in humans that it even has a specific name. Noise annoyance describes the negative feelings noise can create such as disturbance, irritation, dissatisfaction and nuisance.
Noise and children
Research has found that children are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of noise pollution. One particular study, ‘Noise Pollution: A Modern Plague’ showed that children who live in noisy homes are more likely to have reduced cognitive and language development. Noise is also known to affect learning, reading, problem solving, motivation, school performance and social and emotional development.
There are a number of distractions in the workplace and while we may think we’ve mastered the art of tuning them out, even just hearing someone talk while you’re reading or writing can decrease your productivity by an incredible 66%. It has also been found that noise in the office can increase our stress hormone levels and make us less willing to engage with others.
How to reduce noise pollution in your home
Outside noises are not only irritating, as mentioned above, they can also be harmful. Whether you live on a busy road, under a flightpath, by a train station or in the countryside where animals tend to be noisy at night, one of the best ways to stop unwanted sounds entering your home is with window shutters.
Shutters act as fantastic sound barrier thanks to the high quality materials they’re made from. The extra barrier across the window absorbs noises which would normally enter the rooms and because they are made to measure, the fit does not leave gaps around the window frame, meaning that noise can’t escape into the room.