Is that too loud for you?
We are constantly worrying about air, land and water pollution and how much they are not only killing the planet, but also affecting our health. There’s a particular form of pollution however that we tend to oversee that just like the ones mentioned above it is as hazardous and potentially incapacitating: Noise Pollution. Seniors and small children are the population most at risk from noise pollution yet this menace is bad for all of us. The human body has a “fight or flight” reaction to loud, unwanted noises and this makes it very dangerous for vulnerable people. The nervous system is directly crippled by a series of physiological changes along with the vascular and even hormonal system. When someone is exposed to constant noise at high levels some of the following conditions may be triggered:
-Stress Related Conditions
-Emotional Mental Health Conditions
-High Blood Pressure
-Speech and Communication Tampering
What exactly is noise pollution by definition?
The same air we feel against our cheeks or even the one we don’t feel is cluttered with sounds. We grow accustomed to the sounds to a point that we can’t tell how much noise is surrounding us and polluting our inner systems. But what exactly is noise pollution?
To answer this question we are going to refer to the simple definition given by the Environmental Protection Agency to noise pollution:
“Unwanted or Disturbing Sound”
The EPA goes on further by saying that “sound becomes unwanted when it either interferes with normal activities such as sleeping or conversation, or disrupts or diminishes one’s quality of life. The annoyance can have major consequences, primarily to one’s overall health.”
It’s amazing to think of it, but did you know that even Romans would address noise pollution for the sake of their people? At night, Romans would not allow their chariots to transit. They realized the wooden wheels made too much noise against the cobblestone roads and the disruption of sleep was something that they took very seriously. This was the same story in medieval Europe. They laid straw on the cobblestone street to cushion the tapping of the wheels against it therefore minimizing the noise.
Why are Elderly affected so easily?
Our elderly loved ones are at a great risk of suffering from the terrible consequences of noise pollution. They are vulnerable especially if they are suffering from conditions that have debilitated them in time. They are prone to suffer from the consequences mentioned above more than anyone else. Their overall health will worsen very fast, their mood will be tainted and they become more difficult to deal with, and they are more prone to accidents, injuries and even death.
Noise pollution from traffic has been linked to the possibility of stroke in people who are 65 or older. A study took place in a Danish city where they put 51,000 residents under the radar analyzing their exposure to noise levels in their home. Factors such as diet, pollution, smoking history, and family medical history where taken in consideration for the study. The study did find that there is indeed a direct link between the likelihood of someone suffering a stroke when they live in a noisy city and they are 65 or over.
It’s time we pay more attention to the noise around us
The same way we try to manage other types of pollution or at the very least create awareness, we should be taking extra precautions to handle noise pollution. Granted, we do not get any help from institutions and that is why we have to take things into our own hands especially if you are caring for a child or an elderly loved one. Here are a few tips:
-Resort to the use of Ear Plugs
-Using a fan or a white noise machine will block noise traffic and other sounds
-Talk to your doctor to understand the specific needs of your loved one
-Control stress triggers and levels
-Avoid crowded noisy places
-Keep TV and Radio volume at a tolerable level