Noise - does it make you sick?

Noise - does it make you sick?

We live in a noisy world. Last week, as I was taking a flight, I used a sound metre to check the noise level. While taking off, the ambient noise was about 90 dB.

But can noise make you sick?

Let us first define noise. Human conversation is held at about 60 dB. The sound of a motorcycle is 95 dB.

Exposure to sound above 70 dB for prolonged periods of time can result in severe damage to your body.

Let us start with the immune system. Is there a possible connection between constant exposure to noise and your immune system?

Your immune system is linked to your nervous system. The triggering of your nervous system by loud noises triggers an auto-immune response.

The production of prolactin, TSH, and dopamine, hormones that affect your nervous system, is triggered by loud noises.

Some studies in rats have shown that loud noises can even trigger a gut-inflammatory response.

Similarly, loud noises create an excitory response, which in turn triggers increased blood flow, rapid breathing, and a higher pulse rate.

It wasn't always so.

For most of humanity, we lived in relative peace. While our surroundings could have included sounds from birds and animals, you may be surprised to know that nature typically has a noise level of 30–40 dB.

Nature is quiet, relatively speaking, with the loudest sound possibly being the sound of our own voice.

It was with the advent of urban cities and the industrial age that our environments got louder and louder.

I have lived briefly in New York. All you heard was the sound of jackhammers on construction sites and the sound of sirens as police cars made their way to meet an emergency head-on.

New York, one could argue, is one of the most sought-after cities in the world to live in. Yet, the average noise level in a restaurant in the city came in at 77 dB.

New York is an incredibly noisy place. Don't you yearn to go back, sometimes, to a more pristine life?

Btw, New York is cracking down on loud noises.

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