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Article adapted from Rafaele Joudry
Most experts agree consistent, regular exposure to noise over 85 decibels can cause hearing loss – that is like the sound of a vacuum cleaner; however music at concerts and on Ipods is often considerably louder. Even brief exposure to loud noises can damage the inner ear.
Noise damages the sensory cells and nerve endings in the inner ear. Initially, if the noise is limited, some of the damage is reversible. However, over time the sensory cells and nerve endings are lost, and since they are not capable of regeneration the damage may become permanent. We often discount the effects of noise because it is invisible, but noise exposure has not only been linked to hearing loss but also increased stress levels and related health issues that affect hormones, heart health, respiratory responses and foetal development.
Here are some simple ways to protect your ears, keep your sanity and keep your stress levels down!
Crack down on the Boombox
If you have teenagers at home, encourage them to use headphones when they are listening to loud music – it they insist on listening to loud music that’s their business, but you don’t have to be driven to distraction by their music too! You could also let them know that if they listen to sound at 85Db for several hours per day chances are they will need a hearing aid by the time they’re 50 or 60.
Is Your TV On All The Time?
We get so used to the TV being on all the time that sometimes we don’t even notice we are being blasted with noise. Turn it off and put on some peaceful music instead.
Fridge and Computer Noise
Many home and office appliances such as fridges, computers and air conditioners give off a low hum. Without even realising it, this is draining energy from our nervous system. Organise your living and work space so you don’t have to spend long hours near these appliances.
Choose Peaceful Music
When you listen to music, do you think about the effect it is having on your stress levels? Each aspect of music engages a different part of the brain – when you listen to classical music it engages more parts of the brain because it is rich in complex harmony, melody and rhythm. This helps to build more brain connections and enables you to deal more effectively with life, reducing your stress levels.
Self Talk – Make It Positive!
We talk to ourselves all day long inside our head, but have you noticed what kind of things you say to yourself? Practice encouraging statements like, “You’re doing really well” and “You deserve a lot of credit for that”. Self-criticism is noise we can do without!
Calm Your Busy Mind
Have you tried meditation or prayer? Even a few minutes a day will help to calm your busy mind, and the more you do it the more you’ll want to do it. The best peace we can have is inside our own heads.
Get Away Into Nature
There’s nothing like a walk in the forest or on the beach to calm the mind, soothe the soul and replenish your inner reserves of peace. Try to venture into nature every couple of weeks for a few hours and notice how much better you feel.
Use Sound Therapy To Help With Stress
If you can’t tolerate noise, try Sound Therapy to help calm your auditory reception pathways. By helping the ear and brain to respond more appropriately to sound it can reduce the stressful reactions some people have to noise.
Wear Ear Plugs In Noisy Environments
Make it a priority to protect your ears. Get some good ear plugs from the chemist and always have them with you. Noise damage can be cumulative and irreversible, but your ears are indispensable so never put them at risk.
Try Rhythmic Breathing
The quickest and easiest form of relaxation is rhythmic breathing. If your breathing is short and hurried, slow it down by taking long, slow breaths. Inhale slowly then exhale slowly. Count slowly to five as you inhale and then count slowly to five as you exhale. As you exhale slowly pay attention to how your body naturally relaxes. Recognising this change will help you to relax even more.
Sources: Options 2009, ’10 Tips On Finding Peace In A Noisy World’, Options: Natural Health Magazine, no. 45, p.9.