Anyone who has lived in a city before has walked down a busy street, and some (including myself) do this almost every day. The noisiness is annoying, but most don’t realize that it is actually harmful to our health and the environment. The constant noise going around in cities is called noise pollution and it is the least recognized type of pollution, because its consequences aren’t as obvious as other types.
How do our noisy modern lives affect us?
A downside to noise pollution is hearing damage. Every time we take the subway or walk on a busy street, we are exposed to noise levels that exceed the safe amount which is 85 decibels and reach up to 100 decibels. These levels of noise permenantly damage hearing within an hour and sometimes less depending on how loud it is.
Heart, Brain, and Stress Complications
Since noise stimulates us, our bodies make us stay more alert by producing the same hormones used in stressful situations. This is hard on the heart since these hormones increase heart rate and blood pressure. Even during sleep noise disrupts our body functions. When someone is exposed to noise during sleep, the body is once again being stimulated and not resting. Since the brain stays on alert while the person is still sleeping, it doesn’t get the recovery it needs. The problem with this is that people have their rest disrupted without even knowing. Constant stimulation from noise overworks the heart and mind leads to long term issues like strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, and stress/anxiety.
How to Minimize the Effects of Noise Pollution on Your Body
Due to how the world works, we can’t do much to reduce the amount of noise in cities. However, we can do things to protect ourselves from being harmed by noise. The most effective way to shut out noise would be to get a set of earplugs to use on the subway, street, or during sleep. Something I do to avoid noise is walk home on smaller, quieter streets even if it is a bit slower. Also, try not to fall asleep while watching TV or listening to music, so your brain can rest too.