The impacts of noise and acoustical comfort inside our homes and places of work is becoming an increasingly important factor in the overall health and enjoyment of building occupants. The negative effects of prolonged exposure to elevated sound levels on the physical and emotional wellness of human beings has been well documented in recent years. Consequences of prolonged exposure include hearing impairment, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, anti-social behavior, headaches, vertigo, sleep disturbance, decreased sexual performance and death.
Elevated noise levels are strongly linked to impairment of cognitive development in students, and affect reading and problem solving performance as well as social and emotional development. Surveys have shown that 71% of workers indicate “noise” as their top workplace distraction, well ahead of both air quality and lighting. Studies also show noise pollution to have a severe negative effect on worker stress levels, attitudes, productivity and error rates. One study showed that workplace distractions decreased productivity by as much as 40%, while error rates increased by 27%.
Properly designed and implemented noise suppression systems that mitigate excessive noise within our homes and offices may help protect against the debilitating effects of the serious physical and mental health issues that have been linked to long-term exposure to excessive noise.