Living in a noisy home could have many negative effects on your life and your health. Below are just some of the negative effects of too much noise and what you can do to make your home a quieter and more peaceful environment.
The effects of too much noise
1. Stress: Constant noise can trigger the release of cortisol (the stress hormone). This is our body’s way of keeping us alert to dangers – which loud noises often represent. This stress could start to wear you down over time by causing headaches, muscle aches and fatigue. In the long run, chronic stress can even put you at danger of developing heart disease or a stroke.
2. Sleep disturbance: A noisy home could also prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Even if you’re a pretty heavy sleeper, you could still find it difficult to get into a deep sleep if there is a lot of background noise. Lack of sleep can in turn lead to all kinds of health problems.
3. Lack of productivity: Noise makes it hard to concentrate on tasks such as work, planning or reading. You may find that living in a noisy home makes you less productive because your attention is constantly being directed elsewhere.
4. Hearing loss: Constant noise exposure could also lead to premature hearing loss. This generally only includes very loud noises, although moderately loud noises at a constant rate may also have the same effect.
5. Tinnitus: Tinnitus is a ringing sound in the ears. It is similarly caused by exposure to constant loud noises and can drive many people crazy.
How loud is too loud?
Repeated exposure to sounds above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. Such noise levels are also very difficult to sleep through and concentration on other tasks could be very difficult.
What are some noises that are above 85 decibels? Close heavy traffic, overhead airplanes, window air conditioners, lawnmowers and even some vacuum cleaners can hit this decibel range. You may even hit 85 decibels while listening to music loudly or even while having a loud conversation with lots of people. There are apps for your phone that you can use to measure decibel levels in your home.
Ways to make your home quieter
1. Wear earplugs: When it comes to concentrating or getting to sleep more easily in a noisy home, earplugs can be a cheap and effective solution. They’re not a good permanent solution however – you shouldn’t have to walk around your home wearing earplugs all day.
2. Soundproof your home against outside noise: If you live by a busy road, an airport, a train station or another source of loud noise, it could be worth investing in methods of soundproofing your home against these external sources. This can be done using everything from strategically placed trees and fences to heavy-duty curtains and insulating glass. There are even doors and cladding styles specially designed to deflect noise.
3. Look into quiet appliances: Noisy indoor appliances could be damaging your ears. Fortunately, there are now many low-noise solutions on the market ranging from low noise vacuum cleaners to low noise washing machines. If your current appliances are very noisy, consider replacing them with these quieter models.
4. Know when to turn down the volume: It’s possible to damage your ears simply by listening to music too loudly or even listening to the TV too loudly. Be sensible with the volume – just because your sound system can go that high, doesn’t mean that you have to regularly test it out.