Modern noise pollution can become infuriating even to the calmest of people. Traffic noise, airplanes, loud neighbours and construction not only affects quality of life, but research now shows that it can take a toll on our health. Prolonged exposure to excessive noise can cause hearing loss, stress-related illnesses and can impact negatively the general wellbeing of adults and children.
The word noise goes way back. When the Romans needed a word to describe the feeling and sounds of sickness, they created nausea, coming from the Greek word for sailor, nautes. Noise is rooted from the latin word nausea, meaning seasickness or queasiness, originally connecting to the sounds seasick passengers and sailors made while aboard.
How Does Noise Harm Us?
Excess noise causes a number of non-auditory, psychological and mental health effects in people exposed to it on a daily basis either due to environmental factors or their daily occupational environment. Noise has a direct impact on the mind and the body, even while we are in deep sleep. Research has shown that noise causes the release of various stress hormones in the body, like cortisol and adrenaline.
In the study, it was confirmed that among popular leisure activities like attending concerts, fitness classes and fitness events, nightclubs were the main source of high-risk noise exposure. Even those who do not attend clubs and bars but live in areas exposed to high volumes of noise pollution are at high risk of developing illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. This can come about due to not only stress hormones, but a lack of deep sleep which can weaken the immune system.
Although we can’t escape noise, especially while living in the hustle and bustle of the city, ensuring we have breaks of silence throughout the day can greatly increase our sense of inner peace and general well being.
The Benefits of Silence
A 2006 study looked at how short pauses of silence in between music, regardless of tempo, had a much greater effect on relaxation – much more than slow, calming music. Since noise affects the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for the body’s fight or flight response and the release of stress hormones, silence can calm the amygdala.
Healthy Cell Growth
The hippocampus is involved in the storage and formation of memory, emotional response, and learning. Given that the hippocampus is activated by stimulation, it can also benefit from periods of silence, triggering the formation of new, healthy cell growth.
Better Cognitive Function
Noise can be destructive to learning, and silence, on the other hand, helps improve concentration and focus, aiding in better learning and improved brain function.
Activates the Brain’s Default Mode
A unique study looked at how daydreaming and quiet reflection activated the brain’s default mode. When participants were sitting in quiet reflection and not being involved in particular tasks, they showed high levels of brain activity.
It is important to take time to sit in silence and enjoy the peace and quiet of your own company. Turn off electronics, find a park or library, and wear earplugs when attending loud events or concerts. Taking the appropriate steps to take care of your physical and mental health with pauses of silence will benefit you in the present, as well as long term. If you struggle to find peace and quiet in your life, Vancouver life coaching may be a beneficial option for helping you ease stress and rediscover self-care.