How To Reduce Noise Pollution and Its Negative Effects

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Reducing Noise Pollution

Noisy neighbors can be stressful.
There are many options for managing noise pollution stress short of moving, though that' always an option. Creative RF/Caspar Benson/Getty Images

Noise pollution

can negatively impact the body in significant ways, including elevated blood pressure, impaired cognitive functioning, and other effects of chronic stress. (

This article

explains it in more detail.) The following are effective strategies you can use to limit the negative impact of noise pollution and safeguard your health and happiness.

Limit The Noise
Your first line of defense against noise pollution is to do what you can to control your environment, and limit the noise that enters your space. The following are ways that you can limit environmental noise and blunt the effects of noise pollution:

  • Double-Paned Windows and Weather Stripping: If you live in a noisy city or near an airport, you can reduce noise in your home considerably by installing dual-paned windows, weather stripping, and even added insulation. As a bonus, these changes can also reduce your heating and cooling bills, and help the environment!
  • Reduce Workplace Noise: If you work in a noisy office, you may want to talk to your employer about taking steps to reduce office noise, which has been found to affect the health and productivity of workers.
  • Turn Off The T.V.: When you’re at home, a constant backdrop of television can have an effect on you as a distraction and potential stressor.
  • Make Bigger Changes: You may even consider moving or changing jobs if you experience significant levels of noise that you can’t reduce in other ways. It sounds like a drastic step, but considering the toll that a noisy environment can take on your health, it may be an option to consider.

Keep reading for ways to lessen the impact of noise pollution.

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If You Can't Eliminate The Noise Pollution...

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A pair of earphones can transport you to a more relaxing place, even if just in your mind. Mark Lewis/ Getty Images

If you can’t eliminate noise from your environment, you can actually create a healthier environment by replacing stress-inducing environmental sounds with more pleasing ones. For example, you can reduce the impact of airport or city noise with a white noise machine or ‘sound spa’. They play sounds ranging from waterfalls to rain to babbling brooks to basic static, and these sounds mask the more jarring environmental noises that can distract you or negatively affect your sleep. They can also make it easier to meditate or practice visualization techniques.

Additionally, you can drown out distracting sounds from a noisy office environment or neighborhood with music from your iPod or stereo and enjoy the stress management and health benefits of music while lessening the impact of the other noise. This can also improve your mood, boost your immunity, calm your physiology, or energize you. While you’re really trading some sounds for others, the sounds of nature or music can be more soothing and better for your health.

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Safeguard Your Health From Noise Pollution

Candles can be a great focus of meditation.
Meditation and other stress management techniques can reduce overall stress. Tetra Images/Tetra images/Getty Images

Because part of the toll of noise pollution is due to the activation of the body’s stress response, it stands to reason that you can counteract some of these ill effects by regularly using techniques that can reverse your body’s physiological changes that come with chronic stress. The following are some of the most effective techniques you can use:

  • Breathing Exercises: Deep breathing and other breathing exercises work well because they can be done anywhere and are effective in calming the body’s physiology in minutes. (Take a deep breath…don’t you feel better already?)
  • Meditation: Meditation is also an extremely effective stress reliever because it calms the physiology and even helps alter brain chemistry so that, over time, you are less reactive to stress as it happens. (For more in meditation, read these articles on the benefits of meditation and different types of meditation that can be helpful to you.)
  • Yoga The practice of yoga is a great stress reliever because it combines breathing and meditation, and adds an element of exercise to be a stress reliever that acts on several different levels to benefit your health. It also provides a simple way to ease into meditation, for those who find it to be a bit of a challenge at first.

For additional help with stress management, see these ongoing stress relief resources.

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