Some noises are dangerous for our physical and mental health – Elle

Published on March 26, 2023 at 1:05 p.m.

Some noises are dangerous for our physical and mental health

Some noises are dangerous for our physical and mental health – ©Andrea Piacquadio

1 in 5 people have misophonia. This disorder refers to a disproportionate sensitivity to the hearing of certain noises, such as sound chewing, snoring or noisy breathing.

The noisy aspiration of a spoonful of soup, the clicking of a keyboard, very loud breathing… These sounds can annoy many people. However, for a segment of the population that suffers from misophonia, these are becoming downright unbearable, and provoke in them very violent reactions of anger, disgust or anxiety. It is a disorder that affects 1/5th of the population according to a recent British study. The consequences are serious: some people isolate themselves socially to avoid being confronted with disturbing noises.

Most of the study participants had never heard of misophonia. It is indeed a disorder that remains relatively unknown. However, treatments are emerging. Behavioral therapies would make it possible to obtain good results by gradually recreating a tolerance to noises designated as unbearable. Much research is underway to identify the causes and mechanisms of this disease, and thus achieve more effective solutions.

Another British study from March 2023 highlights the health risks of noise. Indeed, some people may develop high blood pressure following prolonged exposure to noise. This is the case, for example, of people who live close to an area with heavy motorway traffic. Professor Kazem Rahimi, from the University of Oxford, demonstrated that the risk of high blood pressure increased by 13% when the noise level went from that of a quiet restaurant to that of a vacuum cleaner.

In question: the stress hormones that would be stimulated by the noise. Pollution also has a role to play, as it increases the risks by 22%. People exposed to noise day and night should therefore be more effectively targeted to protect them from nuisances that have an effect on their physical and mental health.

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