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Noise & Its Effect on Children's Health

Effects of Noise on Children's Health

Noise poses a serious threat to our children's hearing, health, learning and behavior. Recent research suggests that quiet promotes an environment which will foster learning, as well as the opportunity for parents and children to enjoy each other's company. Parents must analyze their own home and recreational activities and make every effort to include quiet times with their children, reading, talking around the dinner table, and listening to their children.

Noise & Children's Health

Research has correlated exposure to noise with physiological changes in blood pressure, sleep, digestion and other stress-related disorders. People complain that noise makes them sick. The word noise is derived from the Latin word, noxia, meaning injury or hurt. In a 1997 study by Arline Bronzaft, Ph.D., et. al. in which a questionnaire was distributed to two groups, one living within the flight pattern of a major airport and the other in a quiet neighborhood, the researchers found that nearly seventy percent of the residents surveyed living within the flight corridors reported themselves bothered by aircraft noise. They also reported that these noises interfered with daily activities. Further, the subjects who were bothered by aircraft noise were more likely to complain of sleep difficulties and more likely to perceive themselves to be in poorer health. When we examine noise in our communities, we must remember that the noise which injures parents may very likely be injuring our children, as well. A study by Cohen, et. al., in 1980, examined the impact of aircraft noise on children's health and found higher systolic and diastolic pressure in children living near the Los Angeles airport when compared to children living further away. Evans, et. al. in 1995 found a relationship between chronic noise exposure and elevated neuroendocrine and cardiovascular measures for children living near Munich's International Airport.

Noise: A Serious Problem Which Can No Longer Be Ignored.

A significant amount of literature confirms that noise does, indeed, impact children's health. It is essential that we take seriously the relationship between noise and health. It is not so long ago that studies which correlated cigarette smoke with health were dismissed. We must give noise the priority status it deserves now before we risk creating a generation which suffers from the stress-related disorders and health impacts associated with noise. Remember, pay attention to the noise you make. Respect another person's right to peace and quiet and teach your children to turn down the volume in their activities.

Noise & Its Effect on Children's Learning

Effects of Noise on Children's Learning

Noise poses a serious threat to our children's hearing, health, learning and behavior. Recent research suggests that quiet promotes an environment which will foster learning, as well as the opportunity for parents and children to enjoy each other's company. Parents must analyze their own home and recreational activities and make every effort to include quiet time with their children, reading, talking around the dinner table and listening to their children.

Noise and Children's Learning

Studies show the noise negatively impacts children's cognitive development. Dr. Arline Bronzaft and Dr. Dennis McCarthy, in a landmark study in 1975, found that students' reading scores were affected by noise. Dr. Bronzaft and Dr. McCarthy examined reading scores of children in a school where classes were located adjacent to elevated train tracks and compared them with reading scores of students on the quiet side of the school. The researchers found that by sixth grade, the students on the noisy side of school tested one year behind those on the quiet side of the school. In a follow-up study in 1981, noise abatement had been provided by the Transit Authority and the Board of Education and Dr. Bronzaft found that reading scores between the two groups were now equal.

Several studies have shown that children's cognitive development is affected by aircraft noise. In a 1982 study, Green found that children living near airports had lower reading scores than children living further away from airports. In a study by Gary Evans and Lorraine Maxwell at Cornell University (1997), it was found that children whose schools were affected by aircraft noise did not learn to read as well as those who were in quiet schools. The researchers compared children in a noisy school (in the flight path of a major international airport) with similar students in a quiet school and found that children in the noisy school had difficulty acquiring speech recognition skills, impacting on the ability to learn to read.

Parent Responsibility

Parents, teachers and government officials must recognize noise as a serious hazard with deleterious effects to children's learning. It is critical to provide children with quiet environments to read, study, learn or just relax. Our future depends on it.

Noise & Its Effect on Children's Behavior

Effects of Noise on Children's Behavior

Noise poses a serious threat to children's hearing, health, learning and behavior. Recent research suggests that quiet promotes an environment which will foster learning, as well as the opportunity for parents and children to enjoy each other's company. Parents must analyze their own home and recreational activities and make every effort to include quiet times with their children, reading, talking around the dinner table and listening to their children.

Noise & Children's Social Behavior

Researchers are now finding what parents have known instinctively for a long time - noise in the home brings chaos to our lives. Imagine a home at around 5 p.m. The television is on, perhaps the stereo is blaring upstairs. The phone rings, one child pulls at your leg, another screaming about a sibling knocking down a carefully designed block construction, all while you are trying to make dinner and help with the homework. Now, imagine the same home without the background noise. Turn off the television, turn down the volume on the stereo and lower the voices. Theodore Wachs (1993) studied the level of "noise confusion" in the home and its impact on early childhood development. Wachs concluded that high levels of noise, crowding and traffic patterns in the home were associated with lower caregiver attentiveness and responsibility. Noise, it seems, can affect the temperament and social interactions of children. Just like adults, children need quiet time at home, to create, learn, relax and just "be".

Offer Your Children the Opportunity for Peace and Quiet

Where today's market offers children a variety of noisy toys, loud and boisterous recreational activities and the message that "loud is cool", parents must provide children with the opportunity for peace and quiet in their lives. Consider the words "peace and quiet". In order to have peace, it is implied that we must have quiet. If we want children to live in a world of peace, we must first offer them a world with the opportunity for quiet.