Discover How Noise Affects Mood

Noise affects mood and, obviously, hearing health. The effects of noise range from a bad mood to deafness. Read on to learn more!
Discover How Noise Affects Mood

Last update: 20 November, 2020

Noise affects mood, according to what science has established, especially in recent years. Firstly, we should note that excessive noise produces deafness and that this problem brings a whole set of additional psychological difficulties.

Secondly, noise on its own constitutes an aggressive stimulus to the brain. Sounds such as bells, horns, sirens, and the like ring alarm bells and spring the body into alert. The result is increased stress, one of the main ways noise affects mood.

In addition to that, excess sounds overstimulate the brain. Noise is almost always simultaneously present in the development of daily activities. This makes your brain focus on many aspects at once and affects cognitive performance. That’s another way noise affects mood.

How noise affects mood

A woman upset over loud noises.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), noise levels shouldn’t exceed 65 decibels. Exceeding this level has a negative impact on people’s social behavior. Specifically, this increases anxiety, irritability, and feelings of helplessness.

Likewise, according to available data, seven out of ten people affirm that noise doesn’t allow them to concentrate. Noise affects attention span and, in the long term, can even lead to learning and memory problems. Also, most people feel moody when there’s a lot of noise in their environment.

Another way in which noise affects mood is during rest. People need a quiet environment in order to be able to fall asleep. If there are sounds in the environment, insomnia very often manifests or rest is interrupted. This has multiple psychological and physical consequences.

Aural architecture

Aural architecture is related to the way noise affects mood. Science has established that the acoustic properties of a home, a building, or any construction directly affect people’s emotions. This is what aural architecture is all about.

Experts in the field point out that the way in which a structure is built determines its acoustic properties. And these properties, in turn, directly affect people’s moods. Aural architecture is related to the design of a place and the materials it’s built with.

One of the scholars on this subject is Trevor Cox, an acoustic engineer at the University of Salford in Manchester, UK. He points out that structures such as that of Hagia Sophia in Turkey have such an acoustic aesthetic that, when you step inside it, you experience a feeling of peace and spirituality.

A study in this regard revealed that briefly listening to a 110 Hz tone reduces activity in speech centers and transfers activity to brain regions associated with abstraction and creativity.

Music and mood

A young woman listening to music.

This article may interest you: Music Therapy Can Help Lower High Blood Pressure

The influence of sounds is so significant that, in fact, there’s already an entire area dedicated to music-based study and therapy. In this regard, a study conducted by the University of Bari (Italy) and the University of Helsinki (Finland) indicated that music changes the biochemistry of emotions.

The study, which was published in the journal Nature, indicates that changes in dopamine receptors were observed with the musical stimulus. This study is the first approach that seeks to set about non-pharmacological treatments for mood disorders.

In fact, music treatments are being used in Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s patients, which have yielded good results. Therefore, if music has all that power, it’s clear that noise also affects mood the other way around.

Prevention and recommendations

Large cities have noise pollution problems. Thus, ideally, everyone should commit to reducing the noise level in their daily lives. Voluntary actions, such as not honking the horn if it isn’t necessary, avoiding loud music, or refraining from speaking in a very loud tone are truly helpful.

Also, it’s important for people to use hearing protection devices when they’re in noisy environments where noise is impossible to control. Likewise, it’s important to regularly seek spaces of silence.

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