Noise pollution is a term more often used to describe major cities where there is nonstop vehicular traffic, dogs barking, humans chit-chatting, and television sets and radios blaring news or entertainment. Previous studies have already found solid evidence that these sounds can lead to sleep disturbances, stress, high blood pressure, heart disease, and noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
So, when it happens at home, the problem can be an even bigger problem.
People have grown accustomed to the myriads of sounds that come from different areas around their homes. From the constant hum of the refrigerator to the pitter-patter of a leaking faucet in the middle of the night, homes are filled with noises that disrupt the peace. While these sounds are not as loud as repeated car horns, your appliances can still contribute to noise pollution.
When Noises Impacts Health
Noise is more than just a cause of annoyance. It has been causing health-related problems, too.
According to an expert, there has been an increase in the number of children who experience sensory sensitivity. Misophonia is a condition in which a person strongly reacts, often negatively, to specific sounds. Sounds like chewing or lip-smacking can trigger extreme disgust or anger.
Signs of misophonia appear early, typically between the ages of 9 and 13. Doctors are not sure exactly why it happens, but it has been linked to general anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and autism. Noise overstimulates the nerves to a point where it has become overwhelming. As a result, those who have misophonia may have temper tantrums (children) or have difficulty concentrating (adults).
Moreover, noise pollution, no matter how loud, can cause hearing problems. It will make understanding audio cues very challenging, especially for people who are using hearing aids.
The Benefits of Silence
Silence, on the other hand, is good. Although, when people think of silence, they equate it to loneliness, spending time in a quiet environment has been proven by science to provide numerous benefits to a person’s physical and mental health.
According to previous studies, silence can lower blood pressure, decrease stress by lowering levels of cortisol and adrenaline, boost the immune system, promote hormone regulation, grow new cells in the brain, prevent the formation of plaque in the arteries, and improve sleep. Moreover, a quiet environment can encourage creativity, reflection, self-awareness, and awareness of the environment.
How to Achieve Silence at Home
In a noisy world, finding quiet is a challenge. Of course, not everyone can drop everything and move to the middle of nowhere, away from traffic and neighbors. It is also a problem that the house itself is constantly producing unpleasant and never-ceasing sounds.
It might not be possible to completely eliminate noise, but homeowners can reduce it to a point where it would not interfere with their daily activities and, more importantly, their overall well-being. Start by addressing the noises generated by home appliances. The furnace needs a tune-up if it is causing rattling, rumbling, screeching, and banging noises. The proper maintenance of a refrigerator would reduce the level of buzzing that the common home appliance creates. Faucet leaks should also be immediately fixed by a plumber.
Many appliances are also now developed to reduce noise pollution at home. Recent vacuum cleaners, air conditioners, dishwashers, and other products are being marketed as quieter.
Devices that typically create noise such as television and speaker bars now have night modes to reduce loud sounds. And alarm clocks, which produce loud noise every morning, have quiet versions that use light to wake up the household.
Moreover, there are ways to absorb sounds inside the house to reduce noise. The use of thick carpets and rugs, wall tapestries, blackout or soundproofing curtains, and soft furniture prevents sound from bouncing around the room. Hard surfaces such as tiled floors, cement walls, and wooden furniture and decor make sounds echo or reverberate throughout the space. Fabric, meanwhile, absorbs sound.
Those who are in the process of building a home or renovating their space can integrate peace and quiet into the structure. The architect can likely make suggestions that will guarantee silence into the house such as using double layers of drywall or utilizing noise-deadening drywall and adding an acoustic underlayment to the floors. These measures will prevent sounds from traveling between rooms and through floors.
Most people live with noise which has been negatively affecting their lives, even if they do not realize it. However, it does not have to be that way. There are still ways to achieve peace and quiet no matter where in the world you are, especially in your own home.