Taking Noise Out of Your Life

Play episode

Bruce Gulland and Liz Waid look at the effects of noise pollution on people and animals. They give some tips on how to get rid of noise in your life.

Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Bruce Gulland.

Voice 2 

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand no matter where in the world they live.

Click here to follow along with this program on YouTube.
Voice 1 

Listen for a moment to the sounds around you. What do you hear? If you live near a busy street maybe it sounds like this:

Voice 2 

But even in areas far away from busy streets, there can still be a lot of noise. Sometimes this noise can wake you from sleep at night. Other times noise may make it difficult to talk to a friend. This kind of noise is often called noise pollution. It is noise that damages the balance of normal life for people and animals. It can even cause health problems. Today’s Spotlight is on noise pollution.

Voice 1 

A lot of noise pollution is caused by transportation. Cars, trucks, trains, and airplanes can all be very loud. And in many cities around the world, people’s homes are very close to these transportation systems. But even things like building tools and music can be noise pollution. It is all around us.

A busy street in Teipei;
A busy street in Taipei; Image by Bohdan Chreptak from Pixabay
Voice 2 

Noise pollution can be a big problem in developing countries. Growing cities and towns are not planned to reduce noise. Many homes and businesses are built next to busy roads. Traffic grows and with it the noise grows.

Voice 1 

Researchers have studied the effects of noise in our lives. They have found that it can do more than just take our attention. Noise also harms our health. Most people know that loud noise can permanently damage our ears. But when a person experiences high levels of noise, his heart beats faster. His blood pressure gets higher. Noise can even change the balance of chemicals in a person’s body.

Voice 2 

Noise can also affect the way a person sleeps at night. A good night of sleep happens when a person is asleep for a long period of time. This is often called “deep sleep.” But when there is too much noise at night, a person cannot get this deep sleep. Studies show that lack of sleep is connected to many different health problems. If a person is always tired, her body is not as strong. She is not able to fight sickness easily. She may also have a difficult time concentrating on work during the day.

Voice 1 

In the 1970s, researchers in New York City studied the effects of noise on a school. The school was near noisy train tracks. Some of the rooms of the school faced the train tracks. Other rooms were far from the train. The researchers tested children over six years. The children on the noisy side of the school had lower reading scores than the children on the quiet side of the school. The city made the train tracks quieter. And the school built special walls near the tracks to lessen the sound. After this, reading scores improved.

A noise barrier around a train;
A noise barrier around a train; Image by bernswaelz from Pixabay
Voice 2 

But noise does not just affect humans. Studies show that noise pollution can affect when birds build their nests. Cows feed less and produce less milk when it is noisy. Some studies even show that the growth of some plants can be affected by noise. This is because the noise affects the behavior of the animals around the plants.

Voice 1 

Louis Hagler is a doctor in California. He fights for quiet in cities. He believes that cities should treat noise pollution like any other dangerous pollution. He told the Washington Post,

Voice 3 

“We do not say to people ‘you just have to learn to live with waste in your water.’ Why should we have to live with waste in our ears?”

Voice 2 

But for many people, the problem of noise is not just about a healthy body. It is also about a healthy, peaceful, mind. For many people, quiet is connected to peace.

Voice 1 

In some religions, holy men and women have special times of silence. Some of these people make a promise not to speak for a period of time. This can be very difficult. But these men and women see their silence as a way to control themselves and honor God.

Voice 2 

All around the world people make their voices quiet to respect others. People are quiet in cemeteries, where people bury the dead. They are quiet in museums where people learn about art or history. They are quiet in libraries where people read books. People also use silence as a way to honor people who have died. Often, at special events or celebrations, people will have a moment of silence. This is a short time when large groups of people quiet their voices to remember the dead. Quiet and silence is special. It is important.

Voice 1 

But finding quiet places in a busy world can be difficult. Noise is all around, and sometimes you cannot avoid it. But you can reduce noise in your life. Here are some ways to get rid of noise in your life.

Voice 4 

Turn off any electrical devices you are not using. These devices can create a low level of noise, even when someone is not using them.

Voice 3 

If you have to raise your voice when you are talking to someone, something is wrong. Look for what is creating noise around you and what you can do to control it.

Voice 4 

Play music at a level that only you can hear, or only inside.

Voice 3 

You can reduce noise coming into and going out of your home by planting tall plants around your home. These plants can block some of the noise that you create.

Voice 4 

You can also reduce noise inside your home. Hang blankets or fabric on your walls. Put soft rugs or carpet on your floors. These things will help stop noise from reflecting off hard surfaces.

Voice 3  

Instead of driving a car or riding a motorbike, ride a bicycle instead. This will reduce noise on the roads.

A person enjoying quiet and peace;
A person enjoying quiet and peace; Image by OyeHaHa from Pixabay
Voice 4 

And finally, value the quiet places you do know. If you have children, take them to quiet areas and let them listen. Teach them to value quiet in their lives. Make sure to include time for quiet in your own life.

Voice 2 

How do you escape noise and find quiet? Is there a lot of noise pollution by where you live? Tell us what you think. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at contact@spotlightenglish.com. You can also find us on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Voice 1 

The writer of this program was Joshua Leo. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.spotlightenglish.com. This program is called “Taking Noise Out of Your Life”

Voice 2 

Visit our website to download our free official app for Android and Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye!


How does noise affect your life? Are you able to find times of quiet?


See our Advanced Program Here
Join our Conversation about too much noise!


Join the discussion

  • I hate noise i cant work or focuse when someone make noise thats make me confused and may be lost my mined so if any one make any nosie around me i feel so bad ,every day i enjouing in my room becouse it is only place i can realax in it whithout any noise

    • Yes sis i was fell like you but now i’m used to working and studing at noise but i can’t thinking in noise i focuses to change this prob because life it’s full of nosie so we have to get along with it

  • Actually, I’m lucky because I live in a small village so there is no transport in it, but sometimes there are some teenagers who create noises by playing football at a late time.
    I probably prefer this noise instead of transport’s notice that is intolerable

  • Ten years ago, I lived in a house beside a busy street. Noise, especially from vehicles on this street, adversely affected my health and concentration. My studying result was affected very much because I find it difficult to concentrate or learn lessons by heart. At nights, the horrible sound of a car horn broke the silence of the night, causing me suddenly to wake up with my heart that feels like it jumps out of my chest. I am obsessed until now.
    Now, I am living in a department a little bit far away busy street, so I sometimes can find times of quiet for myself.

  • I live in Ho Chi Minh city where having a lot of noise pollution caused by transportation. I really don’t like that. Sometimes, I go to my hometown to visit my family. In that, there are not a lor of transportation, so I like atmostphere.

  • Am a quite person but everything around me is noisy. Noise make me angry and stress if my day was noisy I can’t sleep well at night.
    I wish I can silence the world for a while so I can stay quiet.

  • I hate noise. My wife and I always talk in low voices and our house is an island of silence almost always. Where I am now there is no noise at all, but I can hear the noise of women drinking in a pub more than 100 meters away. Your companions must be deaf!!!

  • I do not like noisy places. It confused my life too much. I live near by big street. Everyday, there is a lot of noise which is caused by vehicles: cars, trucks, motobikes,… This affects my family ‘s health and my concentration. When i have an exam, i found it difficult to focus on studying, learning by heart. Especially, the noise is too loud that suddently wakes my parents at midnight. Therefore, they often feel tired on the next days.
    I wish i live in a nice, peaceful place so i can relax without any distubance

  • My house is located just beside of a busy nationa road, noise protection walls in between. The traffic noise up and down the street is loudy from early mornig to night. However, my family has got used to it. In the midnight and very early morning I feel so quiet with few traffic. I rather do not care about such kind of living sounds. But I hate horrible quality TV CMs or abserd laughings of people on poor sense programs bitterly.

  • hello. honestly, I escape to the countryside to find quiet .
    near my home, there is a lot of noise pollution like cars- motorbike and voices of farmers who sell their products.
    noise pollution affects my sleep at night and my healthy body.
    yes, I always find times of quiet.

  • I live in quite place. there are not noise but sometimes have noise in my city because people come to tourism in holiday and caused noise by transportation . noise effect for body became don’t healthy. we can’t sleep at night and sometimes lave exam, l can’t study for exam. I think noise is big problem.

  • I don’t like living in growing cities because there are very noise. So I decided move to countryside to live.

  • I get very mad and when there is a lot of noise, I’m a quiet person and love quiet places. Cause we don’t have children in our home, and we live in a quiet neighborhood so I’m able to find quite times

  • Noise is a possible thing in the world
    But the important thing is to find a way to be clam and also everything around you will be as clam as you.

  • The noise makes me unable to concentrate on studying, it also makes me feel uncomfortable and insecure…, I also find myself quiet time even though it’s quite difficult.

  • I didn’t know that these sounds could damage us thank u for this Information. Notwithstanding I feel that those sounds aren’t affecting us maybe because I got used to hearing them. I don’t have any other instance maybe my AC’s sound it’s so noisy but I can’t sleep without it

  • I don’t enjoy being alone for long periods of time. I also don’t enjoy a lot of background noise. The sound of a baby crying is something I despise to no end. It’s giving me a headache right now. When I am in a deep slumber, if someone makes a noise and I wake up, I may have a headache as a result of the noise. Other times, when there is a little background noise, such as music or a low voice, I am more effective at learning. I get the impression that there is a lot of silence around me, and I will be bored and unable to concentrate. As a result, I often visit the café around the block. It is a little silent and just has a faint background sound.

  • I hate noise! Whenever I’m working or I’m studying. I also need quiet. The quiet helps me focus on the thing which I am doing. Noise – this is a reasonable cause inefficient in my works. But when I am learning or working, I can wear headphones and turn on a sing. It makes me more comfortable. When I study at my university, I always go to the library to learn because there is really quiet. Not only that the library also has an air conditioner. That’s good to learn and work productively. Nowadays, there are many stores or coffee shops which only spend to learn and work. Customers of these stores are students or workers. Sometimes, I also go to the coffee shops to learn with my friends.

  • One of my habits is using the speaker to listen music, but the volume is not too big. One of my roomates is hate it and other tell that is OK. He tell me turn off the speaker, but he using the guitar as practical when I have asleep. He have gotten video call with him parents at 11pm every night. I could not fall asleep, but I can not tell to him because it is the right reason.

  • Hi, It makes me fell not good when hearing a loud voice, but unfortunately I live in very polluted place in Egypt, noise pollution everywhere , there are thousands of motorbike and vehicle with three wheels it comes from south Asia , teenager drive it and play music on it during their driving so loud noise , really I can’t bear it. I hope from local authority to try to solve this problem.

  • I really like being in a quiet place I can’t study or focus or do anything if there is a noise so I hate that ,even though I spend most of the time alone in my bedroom but I still can hear noise !

  • The noise makes me a nervous and worried and put me under pressure. When go the party I can’t hear my sister or other person talk me, and the childerns start cry because the high music .When my son scream, I can’t focus anything .I try to teach them quiets and listen .Yes, I find time quite in the started morning when the kids sleep and empty streets .

  • I hate noise, especially the noise and crying of children, this is really annoying. I wish to live in a quiet place.

  • Noise affects my life as it makes me feel a headache and I can’t concentrate on my work or do well when it is noisy.
    I hate the voices of children when they cry and I think this is the most resource of noise ever.
    I’m lucky because I have leaved the big city where I came from and transport to another home that is located in a small village .. I can see green land , animals , canals .. and this place is really owesome and bring peace and quite.
    But unfortunatelly sometimes I can’t get rid of noise which is caused by some people when they speak loudly .

  • noise makes us distracted and disable to focus on something etc.
    Yes, thank God my house is far away from noise pollution, and I have my own room it’s completely quiet

  • Thanks spotlight for this podcast I really enjoyed it.
    How do I escape noise and find quite ¿
    Actually I’m started study in the library in university it’s very quite,when I study in home I can’t because a lot of noise in our home so the library is the best for study to find quite.

  • I feel very noise sometimes when we don’t take our duties and rights in our country this is called nepotism, there is a million of people sit down in them home without work Even though they studied hard several years in order to achieve them dreams and goals in them job but it happen opposite l see this work it’s unethical behaviour He causes spread corruption and Destroying the ambition of youth , This leads to many young people migrating outside their country in search of a better life. Moreover, I find quiet when When I achieve what I planned for my day such as when l practice all prayers, practice sports. Sometimes, when I traveling or practice my hobbies as well when l listen Quran for my favourite reader like Abdel Basset Abdel Samad or Islam Sobhi l feel comfortable and a more of quiet because Quran psychological comfort and Food for the soul.

  • Thankful I live in a quite neighborhood so I don’t like a noise and I don’t like go to a place there is noise!

  • How do you escape the noise and find quiet?
    -There are some tips I usually use to avoid the noise and
    find peace:
    -Close all the windows.
    – Turn on a relaxing music playlist on Spotify.
    -Turn off the strobe lights, and open dim lights.
    – Maybe take a warm shower.
    -Make my Coffee.
    Is there a lot of noise pollution where you live?
    -No, Fortunately for me I live on a closed street.

  • I escape from noes by staying in a quiet place and watching mon and stars it makes me relax and also by meditation, walking in nature
    In my place, there is no noise pollution but I still believe l need to be away from noes as much as I can

More from this show

Episode 10