‘Noise pollution makes people sick’

Noise leads to sleep problems, high blood pressure and heart disease. On International Noise Awareness Day (april 26th) is there anywhere in the world to a standstill. Ten questions about noise levels on geluidsonderzoeker Tjeerd Andringa.

How can that sound so much effect on our health?

Andringa: “Our brains are busy all day with the registering of sound. They check whether the environment is safe. In a safe environment, we can come to rest. In an unsafe environment, we remain alert. We should then after all perhaps flights.”

“Fortunately happens, that register unconsciously. Otherwise we would go crazy. Sound is there always.”

When says the brain that the environment is unsafe?

“The analysis takes place in our reptilian brain that all of the hundreds of millions of years. That reptilian brain recognizes the most natural sounds traditionally thought of as safe. Just think of the sound of the surf, the wind through the trees, birds singing; sounds that you unconsciously feel safe and where you can relax.”

The brain recognizes, machine noise, not directly as safe. ()

In contrast to mechanical sounds?

“Precisely. Dominant mechanical and industrial sounds are only relatively recently have occurred during the industrialization. Our reptilian brain recognizes they are not directly to be safe. They therefore fall easily into the category ‘unsafe’.”

What happens then?

“The brain is constantly alert. The body is prepared for a possible flight – or vechtreactie: you get a burst of adrenaline, the blood pressure rises and your heart rate goes up.”

“People who are often subject to noise, have a greater chance of heart disease, are more likely to be irritable and sleep is also worse”
Tjeerd Andringa, geluidsonderzoeker University of Groningen

But it’s still not right sick of?

“No, not if the one time it happens. But when you for a long time is exposed to this kind of sounds and there is constantly some stress of the experience. People who are often subject to noise, have a greater chance of heart disease, are more likely to be irritable and sleep is also worse.”

Can we get the brain to ‘learn’ that mechanical noise, such as traffic or loud music, no immediate danger?

“The brain learns that, in principle, itself. Just look what happens when you’re in a different environment are sleeping or when you’ve just moved. The first night you hear all kinds of sounds that the brain does not know. Then at night you often wake up. After a few nights is that about. The brain has learned what ‘home’ means.”

But unlearning doesn’t. Otherwise, no one would suffer more from noise pollution.

“That’s right. There’s an even better deal than the other. We stress getting noise, a rumbling motorbike, for example, is because we have negative emotions to the sound source to connect.”

How does that work?

“Every time you just hear, play that negative emotion and the irritation is greater. Your brain will learn that: hey, this is important, here the focus must go. So is the reptilian brain, and stoneware in the detection of a specific sound that you really do not want to hear.”

“You can take all the stress of the expectation of a sound”
Tjeerd Andringa, geluidsonderzoeker University of Groningen

“Stronger still: even if that sound is not there, your brain is looking for them. So you can only all the stress of the expectation of the sound.”

It falls completely to learn?

“Yeah, probably. It is precisely because emotions play a large role. If you can disconnect it, you will less suffer from it. But as far as I know, there is still no therapy for. However, there are several apps with sounds of nature and special headphones that the sound dropout.”

According to various scientific studies works silence is healing. (Photo: 123RF)

If noise pollution as a negative effect, can silence healing work?

“According to various scientific studies, is that indeed so. One study showed, for example, that only two minutes of silence, the blood pressure and the blood circulation in the brain in a positive way affects.”

“Silence can be the brain in a positive way influence”
Tjeerd Andringa, geluidsonderzoeker University of Groningen

“And there are countless studies which show that nature has a healing effect on our health. Not because of the silence, but because of an ancient “safe” sounds of wind, rustling leaves, and birds. Anyone who regularly stress, whether by sound or caused by something else, would benefit from a regular dose of forest, beach, or park.”

Dr. Tjeerd Andringa is affiliated with the University of Groningen, and does research into the perception of sound.

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