The experience of living in a major city is unlike anything else. While there are many amazing benefits to living in the city — for instance, access to an array of jobs, no to mention art, and culture — it can be harmful to your health in ways you probably aren’t aware of. According to a report by The Atlantic, noise pollution within a city is a serious problem — it’s everywhere, and it may be making you sick.
In every city, the sound of traffic going by is unavoidable. It’s so common that you’ve probably stopped noticing it. It just fades until it starts becoming background noise. Although traffic noise may not seem like such a huge deal, it’s actually a big part of the problem.
According to the Environmental Pollution Centers, noise pollution is defined as “regular exposure to elevated sound levels that may lead to adverse effects in humans or other living organisms.” Exposure to sound levels over 85 decibels for longer than eight hours a day can be harmful.
When you’re living in a city, trying to escape the noise is harder than you would think. It’s pretty much everywhere. Noise pollution can come from the sound of street traffic, construction work, and industrial sounds like fans and generators. Even common workplace noises can be harmful, especially if you’re working in an open space office.
So what are the health effects of noise pollution?
Whether you realize it or not, noise pollution can cause a lot more damage than just hearing loss. If you’re exposed to too much noise for a long period of time, it can cause hypertension, sleep disturbances, various cardiovascular dysfunctions stemming from hypertension, dementia, and psychological dysfunction. Who knew, right?
According to The Atlantic, the problem of noise pollution isn’t something that can easily be solved on an individual level. You can’t just police your neighbors into being quieter. It’s something that needs to be tackled on a larger scale and will require involvement from urban planners, city council members, architects, acousticians, and pretty much everyone else living in the city.
Ugh. Time to invest in some good ear plugs!