Silence is vital for brain health

The importance of asking patients about their home and work environment is important when considering how much noise a patient is exposed to. For most people silence is comforting and nourishes a tired body and mind. Higher decibel sound waves during sleep can disturb vital REM sleep patterns. Exposure to high levels of sound all day can affect the body, leading to a release of stress hormones. The word noise comes from the Latin word, ‘noxia’, meaning hurt, damage or injury. Continual exposure to high decibel sound can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, tinnitus and loss of sleep. In 2011 the World Health Organization reported the root cause of 3,000 deaths was attributed to excessive noise. Professor Gary Evans from Cornell University, published in Psychological Science, charted the effects of airport noise on school children near Munich’s airport. The study showed those children developed a stress response causing them to ignore the noise, which translated to ignoring everyday sounds like speech from others. Silence relieved the stress associated with noise exposure.