How Can Noise Impact Your Health?

Prolonged or sudden exposure to dangerous levels of noise is a common cause of hearing loss. Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is estimated to affect 1 in 4 U.S. adults between the ages of 20-69.

The dangers of noise, however, extend beyond just your hearing. It can have an impact on your overall health and well being. 

How Can Noise Impact Your Health?

The effects that noise can have on your health can be psychological or physical. Regular exposure to consistently elevated sound levels has been shown to impact sleep patterns, tinnitus, hypertension and more. Below are 4 ways that noise can impact your health.

  1. Mental Health. According to a 2011-2012 CDC study, up to 24 percent of adults in the United States exhibit symptoms of NIHL. Many adults will wait years before seeking treatment.

    When hearing loss goes untreated, it can increase the likelihood of someone experiencing poor mental health. A study, led by Dr. Chuan-Ming Li MD, PhD found “that prevalence of moderate to severe depression was 4.9 percent for individuals who reported excellent hearing, 7.1 percent for those with good hearing and 11.4 percent for participants who reported having a little hearing trouble or greater hearing impairment.”

    Another study carried out by the National Center for Biotechnology Information linked excessive noise exposure to a 200% increased risk of depression and anxiety. The study showed a correlation between rates of depression and the higher noise volumes.
  2. Health Problems. “Noise is an underestimated threat that can cause a number of short- and long-term health problems, such as for example sleep disturbance, cardiovascular effects, poorer work and school performance, hearing impairment, etc,” a report from The European Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) stated.
  3. Heart Disease. A 2014 study by the European Heart Journal looked at the “cardiovascular consequences of environmental noise.” The study found: “Acute noise exposure, in both laboratory settings where traffic noise was simulated and in real-life environments, can cause increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and cardiac output, likely mediated by the release of stress hormones such as catecholamines.” The study noted that 3% of heart attacks in Germany could potentially be linked to long term exposure to loud noise levels.
  4. Healing & Immune Health. According to a report published by MedPage Today and the American Heart Association, night noise that disrupts our sleep affects our body’s ability to heal effectively. The study focused on hospital patients, those who need restful, quiet sleep the most. Staff talking, IV alarms and ringing phones were the most common form of noise disturbance. These noises often caused patients’ heart rates to spike by up to 10 beats per minute.

By understanding what is considered dangerous levels of noise, you can take appropriate steps to protect yourself. Our guide on Noise Induced Hearing Loss helps explain what is considered dangerous noise, and tips to protect yourself. If you’d like to learn more about hearing protection, call us today at 702-997-2964 and arrange an appointment at your convenience. Or if you’d prefer, click here to request an appointment online.

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