Human hearing is a fascinating subject that we do not fully understand, despite how far research has come. The brain is the main player when it comes to how well we can hear, and when our ears’ functionality lessens, our brains may start to deteriorate. Meanwhile, noise streaming through our ears can have a profound effect on our brains, as can silence. Here is a quick look at the highly complex topic of noise levels and healthy hearing.
The Danger of Total Silence
According to the Guinness World Records, Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, houses the world’s quietest place. It is called the anechoic chamber, a room entirely enclosed in sound-absorbing material. It comes as close to absolute silence as one can yet imagine, sucking out outside noise as well as interior echoes. After some minutes, people begin to lose their balance. Some have lasted as long as 45 minutes, while others are there for only a few seconds. This type of sensory deprivation is enough to drive one mad.
The Danger of Noise Pollution
Meanwhile, the term “noise pollution” has stoked researchers to investigate what consequences ever-present background noise has on brain and mental health. Noise pollution includes sounds like highway traffic, TV programs, city noises, etc. Over the years, researchers have found that noise pollution damages health to a certain extent. It may be more difficult to distinguish similar-sounding words or to concentrate. Some studies have found that people exposed to noise pollution daily have higher levels of depression, anxiety, and high blood pressure. While absolute silence is maddening, a constant hum is deranging and dulls the “fight or flight” impulse.
The Brain and Background Noise
One can safely conclude that while there’s a reason that the words “peace” and “quiet” often go together, our brains also need some level of sound. In fact, some people need a higher level of background noise than others. One study featured in The Conversation showed that when the brain fires off cells randomly, a person can perceive the world more clearly. Having a little jolt of noise stimulation now and again can improve decision-making and perception, and some may need more assistance than others in producing this brain noise.
Trust the Experts at Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions
Need help with your hearing? Clarity Hearing can help. Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions is an independently owned and operated clinic that focuses on quality of care and personalized, friendly service to the surrounding areas of Ellicott City, Catonsville, Columbia. Our Doctors of Audiology are highly trained with advanced degrees and take the time to provide the personalized care and attention that you need and deserve. We provide advanced hearing aid options that are personally calibrated with cutting-edge digital technology to fit your hearing loss, your unique ear anatomy, and your individual listening needs.