On a daily basis, people are exposed to external noises and sounds that may cause adverse health effects. This noise and sound exposure is experienced in many locations such as at homes, workplaces, shopping centers, schools and other public spaces. As it is nearly impossible to get away from noises and sounds in an urban environment, excessive exposure has become entrenched in the daily lives of individuals. These noises, that can be measured in decibels (dB), may have a different effect on an individual depending on the noise levels they are consistently exposed to. Due to this, there can be many negative effects that go beyond what most people would consider to be harmful. Luckily, there are many ways to combat these effects within certain environments to ensure the health and wellbeing of individuals is prioritized.
When people are exposed to excessive noise it can have negative consequences to their health and wellbeing. For example, only after a brief amount of time, at a dB level of 140 dB, an individual may experience hearing damage, and at a lower dB level, it will take longer for this damage to occur. Nevertheless, a lower db level damage is common as it usually goes unnoticed in offices and other environments. When an individual's hearing becomes impaired, the structure of the hair cells in the inner ear becomes damaged. Once the individual’s hair cell structure is destroyed, the effects on their hearing is permanent. In addition to that, tinnitus may occur, which is a constant ringing, buzzing, or clicking in the ear. Furthermore, the impacts of excessive and unwanted noise go beyond the expected hearing damage someone experiences when exposed to prolonged noises and sounds at a high dB level.
In addition, loud noises and sounds can initiate the fight-or-flight response, which in turn release stress hormones in the individual. This fight-or-flight response from the noise exposure, if prolonged, may also cause the individual to experience:
· higher blood pressure
· loss of sleep
· difficulty breathing &
· changes in brain chemistry
If this noise exposure is not controlled, further suffering may continue and will affect the individual long-term.
Furthermore, there are some studies that connect the effects of noise to negative psychological and mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, all the way to psychosomatic concerns such as an increase of cardiovascular disease.
Therefore, the effects due to excessive noise and sound exposure can be very concerning if they are not dealt with in the correct manner.
Quieter environments that have been curated with acoustic products, in order to reduce excessive noise, support the health and wellbeing of the individuals in these spaces. In order to know how to control the sound in specific environments and spaces, the area must be analyzed for its sound properties. Once that is done, there can be a solution provided to control the excessive and harmful sounds, ensuring the optimal sound level in the environment is met. One way to do this is to control the sound through absorption, attenuation, and, or diffusion, with the addition of different acoustic products.
Time spent in sound controlled environments that have been curated with the health and wellbeing of the individual in mind, can lead to lower blood pressure and stress, less fatigue, brain restoration, and continued healing.
The reduction in hypertension cases, from controlling excessive noise, not only benefits the individual, but also the overall health care system. This is because excessive noise has a large effect on the global hypertension cases. Furthermore, a well designed acoustic space can help an individual:
· sleep better
· maintain a relaxed and calm state of mind
· promote a well functioning immune system &
· maintain energy for longer periods of time
All these health benefits decrease the stress level of individuals, which positively impacts the general happiness, the overall wellbeing, and the sustained focus at work and at home. In addition, it helps companies and organizations meet their overall goals financially and strategically, as it increases the employee output, reduces the amount of sick leave days taken, and promotes a positive work environment.
In conclusion, the implementation of acoustic products to create spaces with good room acoustics should not be overlooked or underestimated. It positively affects the individuals who spend time in these spaces, as well as the companies and organizations they work for, and society as a whole.
The most important benefit that good room acoustics provides is the increase in overall health and wellbeing of individuals.
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