Story at a glance:

  • Natural sound is being found to have health benefits.
  • There is a correlation between noise pollution and declining health.
  • In 36 studies, people experience a 28 percent reduction in feelings of annoyance when listening to natural sounds.

This is an ongoing study on the impact of natural audio on park visitors' biomarkers to determine whether nature boosts one's health.

Rachel Buxton, a conservation scientist at Carleton University in Ottawa, has been examining stress-responses, sounds made and the effects of noise pollution, according to the Good News Network.

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Using a study from WHO, more than 1 million healthy life years (DALYs, DALYs=Disability-adjusted life years) are lost annually because of environmental noise exposure which is attributed to noise-induced sleep disturbance and annoyance.  Buxton did her research and found 650,000 years of life in a healthy state are lost through noise pollution - 1,000 percent more than cardiovascular disease.

Obscuring of sounds by noise pollution can cause a lot of detrimental neurological effects, such as an increase in cortisol secretion that can lead to negative health outcomes.

Buxton examined 36 studies, and found that they averaged a 28 percent reduction in feelings of annoyance when listening to natural sounds like birds, wind and water. Blood pressure, heart rate, and perceived pain were reduced by 23 percent from the geophysical sounds of water.

At National Parks, however, the result may vary because of visitors.

"In parks, noise degrades visitor enjoyment and health directly as an environmental stressor and indirectly by altering the number of sound-producing animals and thus decreasing the diversity of natural sounds," Buxton wrote.

Whenever natural sounds were audible, the negative effects of the noise pollution decreased.

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Published on Jun 04, 2021