I moved to a new apartment. Away from a quiet side street next to a 4 lane street which constant cars.

The apartment has acoustic blocking windows.

I measure 70 - 85 decibels next to the street, and inside the apartment a constant 40-52 decibels, with 46 average during the whole day.

I ask myself: Should I get "used" to it or rather move away from the place? Many people say you get used to the constant noise, however I wonder if this is a healthy choice.

What I realize as well: I am working in a co-working space which has a huge white noise machine. I find it very calming but measure 52 decibels from this machine. If this noise comes from the street I think it's annoying and damaging.

So is the noise at work worse then the one at home? Is it unhealthy to be under constant noise like that?

  • 1
    I edited your question slightly to remove the request for advice. Requests for personal advice are off topic here.
    – Carey Gregory
    Apr 23 '18 at 14:03

Chronic noise exposure of >58db has been associated with the development of diabetes in mice.

You can review the latest studies in the medical literature on chronic noise exposure through a search here with these keywords.

Chronic exposure to traffic noise itself is considered a stressor that has been associated with multiple medical conditions including hypertension, heart attacks, and strokes. One thought of the cause is that the variety in sounds triggers a low-level alarm, like a "fight or flight" response which increases the level of adrenaline circulating and contraction of the blood vessels. It is unclear if there are studies showing that white noise would stop this risk. Additionally, it is unclear how much these studies corrected for the risk of air quality itself. (In one epidemiological study of children growing up near expressways, they found that their average height was lower. The study suggests that children breathing the small <25 PPM particles that penetrate homes and go deep into the lung actually impacted their growth and development. This has implications for the health of adults as well.)

The NIH states that ear damage occurs with sounds above 85db.

The takeaway from this is that traffic noise has a definite risk, as does high levels of noise. White noise currently appears to be an unquantified risk - and may possibly be safer.

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