Any sudden loud noise triggers our natural fight-or-flight response; the heart pumps harder, blood pressure rises, and the body releases cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones.) It is the inability to predict the sound that will bring on this response, which is why your body does not react similarly when you perform actions that cause loud noise, such as running the vacuum cleaner or revving your car engine. This unexpected and repeated triggering of the fight-or-flight reflex can take a toll on your health and well-being.
Our ancestors used the fight-or-flight instinct to survive; today, it actually has the opposite effect, causing higher rates of anxiety and cardiovascular stress. Researchers have made a direct connection between unwanted ambient noise and increased blood pressure. The higher the noise level, in fact, the higher the risk of hypertension, which is a major cause of heart disease. Studies of the effects of noise on health has researchers estimating that three percent of all fatal heart attacks can be attributed to stress induced by excessive environmental noise.
There are options for reducing the levels of ambient noise from your daily life. Whenever possible, installing sound proofing material like Acoustiblok (http://www.acoustiblok.com) in new construction and retrofits reduces the effects of ambient noise by up to 70-percent or more. UL-approved Acoustiblok can reduce more sound than 12-inches of concrete.
Noise reducing headphones or ear plugs are quick fixes for blocking unwelcome sound. It is important to take steps toward correcting noise problems in our own environments, whether it means closing windows, replacing noisy appliances or even moving away from noisy train or airport vicinities. As scientists reveal more findings regarding the effects of noise on health, more people are becoming proactive in their own personal zen levels by taking steps to quiet their world.