The sounds in your home can affect your health

City dwellers are used to unpleasant sounds like traffic noise, shouting from the streets, noisy neighbors, and bad karaoke singing. Sometimes, the noise emanates from within the home: TV, children, loud music. It’s difficult to feel at peace when one is immersed in a noisy environment. 

So if noise pollution affects our health negatively, what would be the best counteraction? Scientists at Carleton University, Michigan State University, and Colorado State University recently came out with results from their research: nature sounds have health benefits for humans. 

Earlier research done by scientists at Brighton and Sussex Medical School in England established the connection between the brain, the body, and background noise. The results point towards the same direction.

Nature sounds like leaves rustling in the wind, river water streaming over rocks, chirping birds, rainfall, or waves hitting the shore are not only pleasant; they are also soothing and healing. These studies show that people who are exposed to high levels of nature sounds have less pain, better mood, enhanced cognitive performance, more positive emotions, and less stress and annoyance. Water sounds, according to the research, are best for improving emotional and physical health, while bird sounds can alleviate stress.

Spending 10 to 15 minutes just focused on a soothing nature sound has a relaxing effect. And it’s something you can do anytime, right in the comfort of your home. You can spend some time in the garden, or set up a small water fountain in your living room, or even use an app to access a wide array of nature sound playlists. A walk in natural surroundings, according to one study, could benefit people with high stress levels. 

Nature sounds can likewise help those individuals suffering from insomnia. The studies also suggest that it can promote concentration and focus, which means that you can play the Rainfall Playlist as you work. When we are mindful of our sound environment, it means that we are prioritizing our wellbeing.

At a time when movement is limited and many of us can’t go out yet to experience the sound of nature firsthand, it helps to know that there are helpful options. Find a comfortable place to sit at home, control distractions for a few minutes, and close your eyes to the sounds of nature. Breathe and relax.