The Stress of Constant Noise
By: Beth McHugh 2008
Never underestimate the effect of unwanted sound on your stress levels. Although many of us live in cities and are used to a certain level of noise, when that noise reaches a certain threshold, the symptoms of stress will begin to manifest.
These symptoms can be as simple as a headache and increased bodily tension resulting in sore muscles at the end of the day. Alternatively the stress of continual noise can manifest as irritability, moodiness, crying fits, emotional eating, and jangled nerves. Ultimately prolonged exposure to uncontrollable noise can result in chronic free-floating anxiety and/or depression.
Although you may like your music turned up loud, that is of your own choosing and you also have the power to turn it off at will. However, when the noise is beyond your control, problems can occur.
A friend of mine who had recently had a baby was having extreme difficulties with noise and stress. Missing out on weeks of restful sleep due to the baby, her situation was compounded when the powers that be decided to dig up the entire road down to gravel level for the entire length of her street. The noise was horrendous.
Exhausted from baby-induced lack of sleep, her days were filled with the sound of jackhammers and earthmovers. It only took a week for her to break. She rang me crying, and completely unable to take care of her baby. She also felt like a failure.
Fortunately I knew two of her neighbors and they too were having difficulties coping with the noise. I reassured my friend that her neighbors were also having problems and both reported increased headaches and marital tension. Neither of them had new babies to care for either, so my friend was not only laboring under a high noise load but she had all the difficulties that a new baby can produce to deal with.
Fortunately after two months the road was finished and the workers
went away. Life returned to normal. Yet it is no coincidence that noise
has long been used throughout history as a torture device. Earplugs
are as essential as pain killers in the household medicine cabinet to
look after your mental as well as your physical health.