Noise makes you sick

Noise makes you sick

An evaluation of a study by the “Noise & Health” research association commissioned by the WHO shows that   the risk of  allergies , cardiovascular diseases,  high blood pressure  and  migraines increases significantly in people who suffer from sleep disorders as a result of noise pollution  . In addition to seeing, hearing is another important sensory organ, because hearing is essential for our social interaction. 

Sense of hearing in a constantly noisy environment

If you can’t hear well, you can’t communicate well with others. This limits the ability to establish and maintain social contacts. Loneliness and isolation can threaten. The sense of hearing also warns and alerts us when dangers arise.

But: hearing is threatened, because our environment is no longer silent these days. Road traffic noise, aircraft noise, even the ubiquitous commercial or neighborhood noise echoes in our ears. We are now bombarded with noise almost around the clock – and that can make us ill in the long run.

Noise as a double hazard

A distinction must be made between two dangers, namely the damage to hearing itself and the psychological effects of constant noise pollution. The facts speak for themselves:  tinnitus  and  hearing loss  have become widespread diseases. The worrying thing is that 15 percent of young people already hear as badly as 50-year-olds. Every year there are 6,000 new cases of “noise-related hearing loss” recognized as an occupational disease.

The psychological consequences are sometimes even more far-reaching:

  • lack of concentration
  • circulatory diseases
  • high blood pressure
  • learning disabilities in children
  • sleep disorders
  • psychiatric disorders
  • and further consequences up to the  heart attack

effect of noise

The pathogenic effect of noise is not as easy to assess as with an infectious disease, where the cause has been found and can be verified with a pathogen finding. The health-impairing effect of noise is – apart from the hearing damage – usually a long process that is difficult to oversee and that can be influenced by numerous other factors.

What is noise actually?

We can close our eyes, but not our ears. Avoiding noise is therefore not always easy. Noise is unwanted, unpleasant or harmful sound. Sound as a physical variable can be measured precisely – but noise is a very individual matter. Factors such as sensitivity and the internal assessment of what is perceived as noise play a decisive role.

It is also important whether the noise is permanent or whether it only temporarily hits our ears. The pain threshold for our ears is 120 decibels, but street noise with around 80 decibels can also make you sick in the long run.

Peace and quiet – not easy to find

A constantly high noise level in the living environment is a risk factor for many physical complaints. However, constant exposure to noise also has social consequences: Noise can lead to sleep disorders, which in turn affect performance at work or at school. Noise on busy roads also disrupts communication within the family or with neighbors and restricts children’s play opportunities. This can lead to isolation and ultimately to people becoming lonely.

9 strategies for more silence

The German Society for Acoustics (DEGA) gives 9 tips on how to bring more peace into your everyday life:

  1. Consideration:  Do not make more noise than is strictly necessary and avoidable under the circumstances.
  2. Protect yourself:  Always wear hearing protection when required or advisable. Only use products with an optimal protective function.
  3. Protect Your Children:  Check Your Children’s Toys! Clickers and alarm pistols can cause significant hearing damage, even if they are only briefly exposed!
  4. Have ear protection ready:  Before starting any activity, check whether hearing protection is necessary: ​​for example when mowing the lawn, cutting hedges or doing DIY.
  5. Think of your friends:  Encourage friends and acquaintances to do the same and to reconsider and observe the above points every day.
  6. Quiet leisure activities:  Refrain from leisure activities that are associated with a lot of noise.
  7. Room volume:  Critically check the volume setting on your radio and television sets, from which you are exposed to sound every day.
  8. Check-ups:  Have your hearing checked by experts at regular intervals.
  9. More silence:  Rethink your habits: Does the CD player, radio or television have to be on in the background? Everyone can take the first step against being annoyed by too much noise, namely avoiding their own noise. That means simply switching off the CD player or the television and letting the calm sink in. Because: We decide through our behavior and our lifestyle whether it will be quieter around us or not.


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