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Noise pollution and anxiety

Too much white noise is not only burdensome, but research shows that it can also have a lasting effect on one’s emotional wellness. Airplanes, trains, and automobiles are all major forms of transportation that make travelling more convenient. For those who live near a railway, major highway, or airport there is a very different perspective.

While some individuals either are not bothered by environmental noise, or find it soothing, it is the source of major stress and conscious/unconscious anxiety for others. According to an article published in the Journal of General Psychology,

“Forty-five male and female undergraduates were exposed to low (43 dB), medium (61 dB), or high (75 dB) levels of ambient white noise for 30 minutes. Subsequent testing with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory revealed that mean situational (or state) anxiety was significantly elevated for the 75 dB group, while the variability of these scores increased for both the 61 and 75 dB groups.” (Standing & Stace, 1980, para. 10).

The unconscious anticipation of hearing the train horn, sirens, or planes taking off can wear on an individual’s emotional health, because it is preventing that individual from feeling comfortable enough to fully relax while at home. This inability to feel safe in his or her environment coupled with how intrusive and uncomfortable noise pollution is a perfect storm for stress and anxiety.

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Standing, L., & Stace, G. (1980, October). The Effects of Environmental Noise on Anxiety Level. Journal of General Psychology, 103(2), 263. Retrieved from

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