Various studies have confirmed the connection between “noise pollution from railways, airports, or roads” and cardiovascular diseases like heart failure, high blood pressure, and stroke.
The new research, which was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, reveals that this can be caused by sound which can lead to a spike in stress hormones. Continued spikes can gradually cause damage to the heart. (Related: Noise pollution: Study finds your noisy commute may be damaging your health.)
The scientists from Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany who spearheaded the research shared that one of the main ways noise pollution can influence heart health is by disrupting sleep.
Here are some ways to help minimize noise pollution in your home and your daily commute:
- Be a considerate neighbor — Try to minimize the noise that you generate such as training your dog no to bark too much, turning down loud music, or hosting parties without making too much noise. This might inspire your neighbors to do the same.
- Earplugs and white noise — The best way to minimize noise is to wear earplugs, especially before you go to sleep at night. You can also mask outside noises using white noise, which can come from anything as long as it gives you constant ambient sound to cover any sound that might make it hard for you to sleep. Try listening to some classical music, whale sounds, or even the hum of your air conditioner.
- Move your bedroom — If your house is by a busy road, make sure to place your bedroom near the back so you’re as far away from the noise as possible. This ensures that you won’t wake up in the middle of the night because of some passing vehicles.
- Plant some trees — By planting some “noise buffers” like trees and shrubs, you can reduce noise by at least five to ten decibels. This will minimize noise by about 50 percent to the human ear, per the USDA National Agroforestry Center. However, before you plant anything, choose the species and planting design carefully. To effectively reduce noise, plant rows of trees and shrubs close to the noise source instead of close to the area you want to protect from the noise. Plant trees/shrubs close together and choose plants with thick foliage. Consider some evergreen varieties which can retain their leaves the whole year round for better protection. If you are not allowed to plant trees, go with shorter shrubs and tall grass.
- Soundproof your home — If you’re having trouble minimizing noise levels in your home, consider soundproofing it with some double glazing or installing specialist layers in the walls or under carpets. This can help, especially if you live in a particularly noisy neighborhood.
- Stay away from busy passenger rail stations — If you commute on a noisy line, don’t blast the music on your phone. Get some noise-cancelling headphones instead to avoid damaging your hearing.
- Turn off the television — Don’t leave your television on, especially if you’re just using it as white noise. Your TV will just distract you, and it might keep you up when you’re trying to go to sleep.
- Decorate with soft furnishings — Use decor like carpets, rugs, and wall hangings at home. These soft furnishings can help minimize sound.
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You can read more articles on how to protect yourself against noise pollution at GreenLivingNews.com.