5 Ways Noise Harms Your Health

Unwanted noise isn’t just annoying; if it’s loud or continuous — or, worse of all, both — it can be dangerous for human health, with detrimental effects beyond hearing damage. At Wiltech Acoustics, we offer a range of solutions to protect the health and safety of people working in loud environments such as heavy industrial plants, factories and process facilities. Here are five health problems that can be avoided with our noise control solutions…

Noise-induced hearing loss

In order to hear, we rely on several tiny, delicate structures in the inner ear. When noise is made, sound waves travel through the ear causing some of these structures to vibrate. As these vibrations ripple through the inner ear, small sensory hair cells start to move and, in doing so, help to send electrical signals to the brain. Our grey matter then translates these signals into a sound we can recognise. When the noise is particularly loud, the resulting sound waves are more violent and this can cause damage to our inner ear’s sensitive structures. Our sensory hair cells are particularly susceptible. Loud noises cause the cells to bend and it takes time for them to recover their shape. Sustained loud noises can cause serious hair cell damage. And this is the cause of most noise-induced hearing loss. More immediate loss of hearing can be caused by an extreme burst of sounds such as a gunshot or an explosion. This can rupture the eardrum or damage the tiny bones in the inner ear.


Exposure to loud noises also leads to tinnitus — a ringing, buzzing, or roaring in the ears or head. Tinnitus can get better with time, although in some cases, it continues constantly which can have a major impact on a person’s quality of life.


A number of studies have found that living in noisy environments has links to anxiety and depression. In 2011, researchers found that the use of anxiety medication increased by as much as 28% among people who lived near seven of Europe’s busiest airports. Another study, published in 2016, found that people were more likely to suffer symptoms of depression if they lived close to busy roads.

The psychological effects of noise exposure can be particularly damaging for children — there’s evidence to suggest that living close to airports or busy streets can lead to problems with memory, attention levels and reading comprehension.

High blood pressure

When we’re subjected to loud noises, our brain enters ‘fight or flight’ mode. This increases our adrenaline levels and releases the stress hormone, cortisol. When that happens our heart rate is elevated and our blood pressure spikes. If this stress response happens continuously, our body starts to break down, and it has detrimental effects on our mental and physical health.

Sleep disturbance

The raised cortisol levels caused by noise exposure can also affect our sleep. In 2018, a Taiwanese study found that when workers were stationed in noisy environments throughout the day, they slept for less time later that night, compared to days when they were assigned a quieter workstation. On noisier days, the subjects also spent less time in the deepest stage of sleep, which our bodies need to re-energise. If you have noise issues you need to manage in an industrial workplace for the health of your employees, and to meet Noise at Work regulations, then please give us a call, we can help with an initial conversation and assessment.


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