Noise and Health

Noise and Health

noise_pollutionHere we go again – every year someone ends up writing one of these articles. This time it is from the Huffington Post.

This article lists seven reasons noise is bad for you.  But a key point made in the introduction, drawing on Arline Bronzaft’s work, is this statement: “While the ear picks up the sound waves and sends it to the temporal lobe for interpretation, it’s the higher senses of the brain that determine whether that sound is unwanted, unpleasant or disturbing.” And this is important because each of us has our own definition of noise and the problems we face when dealing with sounds. For example, my djembe drumming doesn’t bother me at all, but it is noise to my wife. And if it was me having to listen to djembe drumming when I didn’t want to, then I too would label it as annoying noise.

The Huffington Post list is a good one. Can you guess what the seven reasons are, before you move your eyes down?

volume button

  1. Noisiness can affect children’s abilities to learn.
  2. Sound makes you less productive at work.
  3. A noisy neighborhood could actually kill you.
  4. Noise is especially disruptive for multitaskers.
  5. Listening to music doesn’t make it better.
  6. Sound can actually make you less likely to take care of yourself.
  7. Sound may be responsible for the “haunted house” effect. (Here they are talking about “infrasound”, as discussed in my post on wind turbines.)

Notice that the list flips back and forth between noise and sound. Again, it seems to be one’s personal response that ends up defining ‘noise’ vs. ‘sound’. Within each of the seven sections of the article there are links to studies, data and other articles.  It is a good overview into the central concerns of this blog.

Here is the article:


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