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I’ve recently moved to the quiet area of Meydan and, while I miss the busy sounds of the city, I’ve noticed that my sleep and productivity are better and that my mood is lighter. We’ve already looked at how certain sound frequencies can enhance wellbeing, but it is more pertinent to understand how noise can negatively affect health. Did you know that frequent exposure to noise can shorten life expectancy?

Here’s what you need to know.

Noise Pollution is a Killer

Noise reportedly kills 200 thousand people in Europe yearly. Noise exposure is proven to increase stress levels, leading to increased heart rate and blood pressure. This inevitably makes us more prone to stress without us even noticing it. This is not only the case when we’re awake – the body has similar, if not more acute, responses to noise when asleep. One study showed that those who lived around London’s Heathrow Airport had higher incidences of hospital admission and death caused by stroke, coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.

Julian Treasure also argues that the architects of today are “designing environments that make us crazy”. He explains how the acoustics of residential areas, hospitals, offices and classrooms are not adequately designed and that this has detrimental effects to wellbeing.

Loud environments…

  • Hinder rest and sleep
  • Obstruct patient recovery
  • Reduce productivity because of distraction
  • Hinder children’s learning and long-term memory

Why It’s Harder to ‘Listen’ in Today’s World

The noise in today’s world doesn’t only come from construction, airplanes and traffic. It also comes from all the forms of broadcasting that are blasted at us every day from multiple devices. The world is becoming so noisy and this is desensitizing us, making it harder and more tiring to pay attention to the subtler things. Treasure argues that we actually only retain 25% of what we hear. In other words, we are losing our ‘conscious listening’. Just think of all the knowledge that is lost to us simply because we’ve lost our ability to listen! Listening consciously is also extremely important for human beings to connect – connect to the space and time they’re in, connect to each other and connect spiritually.

Click here to learn more about the healing effect of Music and discover Isa’s Healing Music playlist.

This Is What You Can Do

Take steps to improve both your sound health and your conscious listening.

  • Escape the noise! Reduce the volume, buy quality speakers and headphones and opt for earplugs when in loud environments.
  • Eliminate whatever noise levels you can in your living and working environments.
  • Enter into silence 3 minutes a day and immerse yourself in the sounds of nature in order to ‘reset’ your ears so you can then listen better.
  • Enjoy mundane sounds instead of getting annoyed by the unavoidable ones. By changing your approach in this way your stress levels will go down.
  • Engage more attentively to the people that actually require your attention by using RASA – Receive, Appreciate, Summarize, Ask
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