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“…And all the Who girls and boys would wake bright and early.

They’d rush for their toys!

And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!

That’s one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!

That cheerful quote is from Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”

Or as Dr. Abby used to say when she was a little girl,

“Da Grinch Da More Christmas!”

I say this because have you been noticing how loud it seems to be getting? Even now, at 6 pm on a Thursday evening, I’m listening to a lawn crew and their leaf blowers, and have been for the past half hour!

Yeah, I know…, and you damn kids might as well get off my lawn while you are at it, too!

But honestly, doesn’t it seem to be getting louder and louder?

Studies are associating exposure to high noise levels and the activation of stress hormones such as cortisol, which reduce pancreatic insulin secretion and decrease insulin sensitivity throughout the body, leading to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

This is a double whammy- less insulin, and the cells are more resistant to what insulin there is- this is the fast track to type 2 diabetes.

A 2011 study linked noise-induced hearing loss with impaired fasting glucose levels.

A 2014 study linked elevated body mass indexes (BMIs) with patients who reported occupational noise exposure.

This would also include those who live in large commercial metropolises such as Phoenix, where noise pollution (like the kind from our friends with the leaf blowers, and all of those noisy, noisy cars and motorcycles) has been implicated in many adverse non-auditory health conditions such as hypertension (elevated blood pressure), atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), vascular dysfunction and metabolic disorders like type 2-diabetes.

Additional studies are showing that chronic exposure to noise can also lead to an increased risk of hyper cholesterol (elevated cholesterol levels), adiposity (that’s gaining fat), and type 2 diabetes.

So what’s, I said…, so what’s a person to do?

Personally, I use earplugs, or at least have them with me in case I need them.

When I’m using power tools and lawn equipment I wear these big plastic ear muff things, and that seems to help.

But, I suppose I am only contributing to the problem.

I don’t know if there is any way to avoid all of the urban noise. I think I would find opportunities to nourish my soul- that is find ways to get out into nature and spend time with the birds, butterflies, and trees.

When trying to understand what’s good for a person and what’s bad, there are always at least two ways to look at the situation- physiologically, and mentally.

Physiologically, that’s what happens to the body, chronic exposure to loud noises simply has to take its toll, but how much toll is taken…, well that’s up to the individual himself and how harmful he or she feels the loud noises are to them.

If a person thinks they will “mess” him up, then they will.

Still, I will continue to wear earplugs when I can, try not to be so darn noisy, and continue to look for a way to, well…, rise above the noise!

In the next blog, we’ll talk about light pollution.

Take Care,

Dr. Dave

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