Of all the brain-numbing forms of stress and pollution, noise
would have to be the toughest to exclude from our lives.
In an environment dominated by machines and crowded wirh people,
little sonic privacy can be hard to find. The physical damage
to our ears caused by noise is well known, but it is the myriad
sources of noise that bombard our brains, distract our thinking
and create stress:
- Loud music from the neighbours
- The shrill of mobile phones on public transport (my pet hate!)
- Noisy Walkmans
- The whirr of the computer, laser printer, and photocopier
Our bodies react to noise. Adrenaline is released into your
bloodstream; breathing and heartbeat quicken; blood pressure goes
up; and pores release sweat. And how does this translate into the
work you do?
Noise not only can reduce the amount of work you can get done, but is
apt to drag down the quality as well. Intellectual tasks are
especially vulnerable to noise.
Actively minimise the amount of noise affecting you. If you can
think of a way to stop the Walkman noise pollution on the
trains...let me know. I saw an advertisement for British Rail
where an annoyed passenger cut the headphone cable of a fellow,
noisy commuter. As for mobile phones, I want to invent a jamming
device to block the signals.
Get away and have a day of silence. Maybe a weekend of silence, where
you can spend time listening to your thoughts and dreams.
Purchase some ear plugs.
Use white noise to mask out the sound. The easiest way to generate
white noise is to tune the FM radio between stations and adjusting
the base and treble (or tone control) for the best noise-muting hiss.
Based on material from "How to Boost your brain-power" by Roger Yepson
published by Rodale press 1987.
Last updated: 1st October 1996