Whether we're at home, on the go, or at work, we're constantly surrounded by sound. Getting around all this noise so you can relax or concentrate is challenging. Most people may not realize how much the noise we “tune out” can impact us on a deeper level. Excess background noise can increase stress, reduce physical well-being, and even prevent us from effectively storing memories.
According to the American Tinnitus Association, many common elements have distractingly high sound levels. Busy street traffic, or "street noise" can be as loud as 75 dB to 80 dB, that's nearly "twice as loud" as a person yelling just a few feet away. A subway train can be around 100 dB, and that screaming child on the back of the bus, or in the row behind you on an airplane can get as loud as 110 dB. That’s around the level of a loud rock concert. If you're thinking of picking up a pair of noise-canceling headphones to arm yourself in this noisy world, this guide will walk you through some of the key factors you'll want to keep in mind.