The Consequences of Sound (Scientific American)

Too much noise isn’t a good thing. Not just from obvious, isolated incidents – for example, a Miley Cyrus concert where fans’ screams reached the equivalent decibel level of standing next to a power saw – but from everyday overexposure to the din of man-made machinery and vehicles. Too much noise can be harmful to stress levels, cognitive function and child development, among other consequences.

Even if it doesn’t wake us, noise-induced disruption of our sleeping patterns can be bad for our health as well. Ironically, some of the noises most arousing to a sleeping brain can be found in hospitals, since many are meant as alert sounds. They produce a partial “fight-or-flight response” in sleeping patients, increasing heart rate and blood pressure and leading to the administration of larger doses of sedatives. Scientific American details these dangers of noise pollution and more.

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