Have you ever been kept awake by the sound of a dripping faucet or a neighbor's party? Do the sounds of sirens on ambulances and fire engines put you on edge? Does loud rock music make you want to put plugs in your ears? Have you ever said to yourself, "If that noise doesn't stop, I'm going to go crazy." Everyone is sensitive to noise, and excessive of continuous noise causes stress and health problems. Noise interferes with sleep and can cause fatigue, tension, and anxiety.
Sound activates the nervous system and affects functions of the endocrine system (changes hormone levels), the cardiovascular system (raises blood pressure), and other organs in the body. Persistent loud sounds can cause headaches, stomach aches, and a host of other symptoms including tinnitus (a persistent ringing in the ears), and partial loss of hearing. Children are particularly prone to hearing loss from listening to overly loud music hour after hour.
Sound levels are measured in decibels (db). The danger zone for hearing loss begins at about 85 db. This level of sound is often reached on a busy freeway; it is estimated that 20 million Americans are exposed to dangerous levels of sound every day. Some approximate
noise levels in the environment are:
jet engines...140 db
portable stereos (full volume)...115 db
rock concert...90-130 db
power mowers...105 db
subway trains...100 db
power saws...95 db
electric razors...85 db
Most Americans live and work in the din of urban environments and have forgotten what silence is like or how peaceful and restoring it is. People need stillness, at least some of the time, to quiet jangled nerves and calm the mind. Chief Seattle (after whom the city is named) expressed it eloquently more than 150 years ago.
"There is no quiet place in the white man's cities. No place to hear the unfurling of the leaves in spring or the rustle of insects' wings....what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of
the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night?"
Written by Gordon Edlin, Ph.D.
Good Health Return Top Return