Sound Effects

Men's Journal|May - June 2020

Sound Effects
Noise pollution is everywhere. You need to protect yourself. Here’s how.
JULIA SAVACOOL

YOU ALREADY KNOW loud places—sporting events, live concerts—aren’t good for our hearing. But it turns out that noise pollution is a constant in our lives, with potentially detrimental effects. A 2019 World Health Organization report citing French research suggests noise pollution in major cities has risen to such levels that it can cost residents more than three healthy years owing to ailments related to damaging sounds. That’s on top of an obvious outcome—hearing loss, which is irreversible.

“The human brain is remarkably good at tuning out background noise, but our autonomic nervous system, which controls the function of our major organ systems, still responds to it,” says Rick Neitzel, associate professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Michigan. “Noise levels can absolutely be harmful even if they are not bothering us.”

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May - June 2020