Loud noise is not only bad for your ears but can play a negative role in your overall health. Exposure to loud and annoying sounds can affect our blood pressure, cause headaches, cause irritability, and even cause fatigue. When we hear a sound that is annoying to us, our blood pressure can elevate, and the rhythm of our heartbeat can change. Both affect our overall health and well-being.
It’s Not Just the Noise Level
It’s not much of a surprise that loud sounds are more bothersome than quiet ones. However, new research takes it a step further showing that it’s not just the loudness, but the sound itself. Researchers believe that the amygdala, the part of our brain that regulates emotions, takes over the auditory part of our brains when we hear noise. This can explain why we have negative reactions to unpleasant sounds.
Annoying Sounds Aren’t the Same for Everyone
The phrase “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure” certainly applies to noise. Most of us can agree that nails on a chalkboard, squealing brakes, and a baby crying are unpleasant sounds. However, we don’t agree on all sounds. What may be music to one’s ears may be awful to another. For example, some of us may find that listening to white noise or a fan is a soothing way to fall asleep, while others may find it annoying and need complete silence.
How Noise Affects Our Bodies
Our brains can perceive sounds as noise and that can increase irritability and anxiety. Increased levels of agitation from this can increase the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies. In turn, cortisol increases blood pressure and blood sugar, while decreasing our body’s immune system. Increased stress can also increase our cardiovascular risk. Overall, loud sounds not only affect our moods, but can impair our immune systems.
How to Handle Noise
Unfortunately, there is no escaping noise. It is everywhere. So, while you can’t avoid noise entirely, you can start paying closer attention to how sounds make you feel. Once you find noises that are bothersome, you can start making small changes to fix that. For example, try using a white noise machine to fall asleep if you have a neighbor’s dog that barks and makes you irritated.
Simply noticing how the sounds make you feel gives you a chance to make changes accordingly. Making those small changes can go a long way towards improving your mood and overall health.