Environmental noise can cause:
Sleep is essential to recovering physically and mentally, and staying healthy. To benefit from its restorative effect, a person has to get sufficient and undisturbed sleep. Environmental noise has effects on sleep. Two types of effects are well documented:
Each time there is a noise while you sleep, especially noises caused by some form of transportation, your body reacts. Your heart beats faster, and other bodily functions are also affected. For example, blood vessels constrict and blood pressure rises. The body never gets accustomed to night noises, even after many years. These reactions are therefore repeated night after night. However, the feeling of having slept badly can diminish with time.
Noise can affect your sleep in many ways:
If your sleep is affected by noise, you may feel the effects the next day. For example, you could:
Noise is a source of stress. It triggers reactions in the body, including the secretion of certain hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These reactions account for the development of heart and cardiovascular diseases after many years of exposure to noise.
There is now enough scientific evidence demonstrating two effects of noise:
In humans, hearing is the ability to perceive sounds through the auditory system. The auditory system functions 24 hours a day. Unlike eyes, which are protected by eyelids, ears have no protection. Therefore, ears are always alert and never rest.
There is an established link between exposure to noisy activities and the risk of hearing loss. Hearing loss is considered a handicap from the moment a person has difficulty communicating in common situations, such has having a hard time understanding when there is noise around him or her. Such a difficulty has significant consequences on the quality of the person’s daily life.
Activities such as listening to music at a high volume for long periods and going to places where music is amplified can lead to hearing loss. About 5 to 10% of young people listening to music with portable audio players are at risk of hearing damage because of their listening habits (for over an hour every day at a high volume of 90 dBA or more). Listening to music at high levels can cause permanent hearing loss after five years of such exposure.
The effects of temporary hearing loss are similar to the effects of permanent hearing loss, the difference being that the former is reversible. To recover from temporary hearing loss, you must stay in a quiet environment for a sufficient period of time, which can vary from a few hours to a day.
Tinnitus is hissing, ringing or buzzing in a person ears or head. A person hears these sounds without them being produced by an external source. Tinnitus can be the result of exposure to high noise levels, such as loud music. Loud or sudden noise, such as an explosion or gunfire, can also cause tinnitus. Tinnitus is a hearing problem that often accompanies hearing loss. It can be temporary or permanent.
Debilitating tinnitus causes constant disruption of a person’s emotional, cognitive, psychological or physical state. Exposure to environmental noise, mainly noise produced by leisure activities, accounts for about 3% of debilitating tinnitus.
If you have questions regarding hearing problems (permanent or temporary hearing loss and tinnitus) which you think are due to exposure to noise, call Info-Santé 811.
Last update: July 26, 2016 12:10 PM
The information on this website by no means replaces the advice of a health professional. If you have questions regarding your health, contact Info-Santé 811 or see a health professional.