Is loud music a threat to my health?

Dear Doctor,

Are there any health dangers of living in a noisy neighbourhood? I am worried because my neighbours are always playing loud music. Kelly

Dear Kelly,

Your concern is genuine. There are many health hazards of exposure to loud noise. It causes both physical and mental problems. Constant exposure to noise causes anxiety, irritability, sleep loss, depression, and etcetera. Exposure to loud sound has been linked to violent behaviour.  Persons are known to develop addiction for loud music due to constant exposure to loud sounds. It is known to cause tinnitus, that is, a ringing sensation in the ear, and dizziness. Due to constant stimulation of the sympathetic system by noise, it does not get time to be habituated, resulting in cardiovascular instability. This, coupled with stress as a result of noise and insomnia, can cause high blood pressure and even heart problems.

In pregnant women, loud noise can cause a low birth weight of the baby or a baby with birth defects like cleft lip, cleft palate, among others. Speech and or reading abilities of a young child may be affected by constant exposure to loud noise. It also affects overall health of growing children. Heart rate of small children living in noisy places was found to be higher than those living in quiet places.

Worst of all, it impairs the hearing ability of a person over time.

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