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    • Noise, even at levels that are not harmful to hearing, is perceived subconsciously as a danger signal, even during sleep.2  The body reacts to noise with a “fight or flight” response, with resultant nervous, hormonal, and vascular changes that have far reaching consequences.1-11   Despite the fact that much has been written about the health effects of noise, it seems that much of the following information is not appreciated by the medical community and even less so by the general public
    • The interested reader should consult Noise Off (, The Noise Pollution Clearinghouse (, Noise Free America (, or the League for the Hard of Hearing ( for additional information about this subject. 

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    • “Worldwide, noise-induced hearing impairment is the most prevalent irreversible occupational hazard, and it is estimated that 120 million people worldwide have disabling hearing difficulties.”
    • A soft whisper at 3 feet equals 30 dBA, a busy freeway at 50 feet is around 80 dBA, and a chain saw can reach 110 dBA or more at operating distance. Brief exposure to sound levels exceeding 120 dBA without hearing protection may even cause physical pain.

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    • essayist Ambrose Bierce did around the turn of the last century: as "a stench in the ear."
    • Providing scientific proof of this has not been easy -- in part because noise, defined as "unwanted sound," is to a large degree a matter of personal taste and sensitivity. The romantic hears a train whistle differently from the insomniac. And no small number of Americans pay good money to hear the same rock-and-roll music that was used to torture the holed-up Panamanian dictator, Manuel Noriega, and Waco's David Koresh and induce cooperation from prisoners in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

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    • Noise can affect the neurological system directly or indirectly through subjective experience (disturbance, annoyance). The consequences are vegetative reactions such as the reduction of the skin's resistance or changes in heartbeat frequency, as well as changed concentrations of the activation hormones adrenalin, noradrenalin and cortisol in body fluids. In this way, metabolic procedures, the regulation of vital body functions and the immune system can be influenced….




      In adults, chronic annoyance by neighbourhood noise was related to increased risks for the cardiovascular system….Significantly increased risks appeared for cardiovascular symptoms and hypertension in conjunction with severe and chronic annoyance by neighbourhood noise. The trend within the annoyance categories was likewise significant….
       …The risk of bronchitis appeared significantly increased….

       Pronounced effects of severe and chronic annoyance by neighbourhood noise were obvious in the stress-sensitive musculoskeletal system [Figure - 15]. Highly increased significant risks were calculated for arthritic symptoms as well as for arthritis. The trend within the annoyance categories was highly significant….
       Distinctive effects on the neuro-psychic system were also registered with chronic annoyance by neighbourhood noise [Figure - 16]. The trend for depression (SALSA) as well as medically diagnosed depressions significantly increases with severe and chronic annoyance by neighbourhood noise. The trend within the annoyance categories was highly significant. Beyond that, a highly increased risk of migraine was confirmed with severe and chronic annoyance by neighbourhood noise. The trend within the annoyance categories was here also highly significant.

    • human organisms are not prepared to shut off the noise. Hearing is a permanent process using cortical and subcortical structures to filter and interpret acoustical information; the analysis of acoustical signals is essential for human survival and communication. Noise is detrimental to health in several respects, for example, hearing impairment, sleep disturbance, cardiovascular effects, psychophysiologic effects, psychiatric symptoms, and fetal development (Stansfeld et al. 2000). Furthermore, noise has widespread psychosocial effects including noise annoyance, reduced performance, and increased aggressive behavior
    • Even ear-safe sound levels can cause nonauditory health effects if they chronically interfere with recreational activities such as sleep and relaxation, if they disturb communication and speech intelligibility, or if they interfere with mental tasks that require a high degree of attention and concentration

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    • “A person who says ‘My noise is my right’ basically means ‘Your ear is my hole.
    • He questions why American culture in general seems to be on the loud side, examines “the historic relationship between noise and violence, between the arrogance of power and contempt for the weak.

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