From phones to traffic and work distractions, noise is a part of our daily lives: “We’re living with so much more noise now than we were three years ago, not to mention 20 years ago,” says Erling Kagge, author of 2017 book Silence In The Age of Noise.
Perhaps that’s why, the lead up to Christmas is seeing the launch of a variety of products that address the issue. From new book The Art Of Silence by Amber Hatch to silent spa breaks, and even celebrities are celebrating the power of peace and quiet, with actress Emma Watson saying: “I really wanted to figure out how to be at home with myself” after a week in a Canadian Rocky Mountain retreat.
“We’re living with so much more noise now than we were three years ago, not to mention 20 years ago”
The year might have seen corporate nights out replaced with pampered breaks and the rise of the bleisure trip, and now it’s time for New Year’s parties to undergo a makeover. Deafening music is being offered a counter concept in the form of a yoga retreat or the Silent Treatment at spas like Ockenden Manor in West Sussex to see 2018 in, in relaxed and contemplative style.
High levels of noise are known to have a negative impact on both physical and mental wellbeing, not to mention – it’s pretty unsociable. Last year, a study by the charity Action on Hearing Loss found that 81% of us have experienced difficulty holding a conversation while eating out. For those particularly aware of it, you may have heard of The Pipedown campaign which wants to put an end to unwanted music in restaurants and pubs and has many celebrity supporters, including Joanna Lumley and Mark Rylance.
“Loud noise over 85 decibels was found to impair creativity and problem-solving skills”
In a study published by Oxford University Press, loud noise over 85 decibels (around the same volume as a kitchen mixer on full) was found to impair creativity and problem-solving skills, and worryingly loud noise might even make us less intelligent.
On a physical note, John Stewart, author of Why Noise Matters says: “evidence suggests that when noise is unnaturally and excessively loud it disorientates and can lead to the ‘fight or flight’ stress response.”
On that note, maybe wellbeing resolutions should take on a slightly different emphasis this year – starting with a silent spa break for a happy and healthy 2018!
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