Effects of Noise & Music on Sleep

in Stress Research and Insights

Fellow research review: “Transportation noise exposure and anxiety: A Systematic review and meta-analysis” by Yuliang Lan, Hannah Roberts, Mei-Po Kwan, Marco Helbich



  • This research was carried out to enumerate the risk of exposure to noise, loud music and how they affect sleep; in general, body psychology. This research aimed to discover the effect of exposure to loud noises from vehicles, industrial machines, and the environment. All these serve as factors that contribute to anxiety and sleep apnea in humans. To achieve this sole purpose, a group of adolescents and young adults were questioned and medically examined. The study included 306 male and 697 female workers who had lived in Bratislava for four years or more. 347 workers deal with loud noises from machines; they were diagnosed as suffering from anxiety. For this study, a questionnaire was distributed among different people to better understand their take on noise and how it has affected those activities.  

  • In addition, a large number of the people were discovered to be obsessed with the use of loud headphones and sometimes EarPods before sleep. This obsession has led to some students' hearing impairment (temporary or permanent hearing threshold shift or hearing loss). More so, it was discovered that not only are some people obsessed with music but also work in loud noisy environments. This defect has led to hearing disorders in people. High-intensity noise, either from loud music before sleep or noise from traffic- are issues that the general public must carefully address.  

  • Based on a rapid increase in the rate of hearing disorders and how sleep duration and quality have been affected in most students. This prompted the need for a check and balance. This research aims to balance the duration of use of EarPods and headphones and how to abstain from loud noise. myAir app suggests methods to reduce music and noise daily and before bed. For those who prefer to sleep with music on, myAir app suggests the appropriate duration for how long the music should be on.


Data from the questionnaire distributed promptly aided the research study. We found out that almost all the people studied are exposed to loud noises from traffic; others like music. Results showed that 79% of the patients are exposed to loud noises from machines and vehicles for about 285 minutes in a week. About 16% of the patients listen to the music on the loudness level 4, and 86.5% use earbuds. 28% of the patients suffer from decreased hearing and anxiety. This hearing disability has led to partial deafness in some patients due to negligence of actions. 


Noise is an environmental pollution; it is a form that several people pay less attention to. Not full negligence, but it has become a norm in their daily activities that they are now accustomed to. Noise is caused by loud noises from vehicles, industries, large equipment and loud music. 

Unlike noise- music is an organized noise. Music is a piece of sound intelligence soothing to the ear. Compared to noise that is generated from different sources, music is organized and composed melody. All these sources generate noise of a loud wavelength, enough to damage the eardrums and hearing ability. 

Music is made mainly for relaxation and fun. Regardless of how vital these composed sounds and melodies are, their abuse poses a great threat to human health. Listening to music is relaxing and sometimes prescribed for therapeutic sessions by therapists. As a therapeutic means, it is maintained at a level that soothes the ear and moment. 

Props to this therapeutic effect of music; some are now obsessed with it to aid their sleep. It is noteworthy that listening to music at a moderate level to aid sleep is medically acceptable. However, most individuals listen to music before sleeping on high volume, which is medically unadvised. 

Music exhibits its therapeutic effect on individuals through its action on the brain. Well composed and moderate level music sends a sensation and signal to the brain; hence aids the body and mind coordination. The negative effect of this action- listening to music on high volume-affects the eardrum and brain activity. 

The cons of falling asleep with loud noises and music exceed the pros of music as a moderator for mind coordination. More so, falling asleep with headphones in the ear while listening to music subjects the body to a significant health risk. This action is evident in damaged hearing ability, reduced sleep quality, and sleep patterns. 

Props to this imbalance and abuse of music, there is a need for a balance between exposing the ear to noise and music. myAir app suggests reasonable methods to help manage noise in the environment. These methods have proven effective to aid better sleep quality, suppress anxiety and sleep disorders. 

From the study carried out, it was noticed that listening to loud music from portable music players for at least five hours a week is unhealthy. This duration exceeds the noise standards to which workers may be exposed in the noisiest industrial enterprises. Also, the use of earphones in the ear closes the hearing canal, and the intensity of the music increases. 

Reduce the duration of listening to music daily or weekly from headphones. Furthermore, these actions become more detrimental with increased and frequent use of headphones- and listening to music in general. The study aimed at how to help individuals manage the duration of music daily, use of headphones and noise control methods. 

Relationship Between Noise, Music and Sleep

Do you work or live in a noisy environment? Are you always exposed to loud noises from different sources? Does your love for music cause you to keep your ears plugged for hours? Then you need myAir app; the app has been designed with pro methods to be suggested based on your condition; the sole aim is to suggest methods to boost proper sleep, prevent sleep disorders and anxiety. 

It is important to note that falling with music is therapeutic and of medical importance. However, falling asleep while listening to music with headphones in your ear is a great health risk. Falling asleep with headphones sends a strong signal to the brain. In place of the soothing effects, it affects the hearing nerves and body coordination. 

Headphones are generally attachments to enhance listening to music and prevent noise pollution. Instead of playing the music on loudspeakers to disturb neighbours, the headphones keep the sound private to the ears. Necessary as this is in reducing environmental noise pollution, its demerits are affecting the user's hearing ability. 

Headphones are very comfortable to sleep with but come at a cost. Sleeping with headphones subjects the user to the risk of Necrosis. Arguably, sleeping with headphones causes Necrosis- which is the death of body tissue due to blood shortage or insufficient circulation of blood to it. 

Medically, every body part and tissues, and cells need nutrients carried in blood for regulation and metabolism. In headphones, the ear tissues die due to a shortage of blood circulation through them. Headphones apply a certain pressure on these tissues; frequent use of headphones leads to their death. 

Death of these tissues is due to the prolonged use of headphones is the primary cause of ear tissues hence Necrosis and sometimes hearing impairment. To avoid Necrosis, myAir app suggests ways to moderate the duration of headphones plugged in the ear. Depending on the user's choice, the app automatically affects the music and curb prolonged headphones while sleeping. 

Another con of falling asleep with headphones while listening to music is the imperative growth of wax in the ear. Ideally, the ear produces wax that protects the ear canal and keeps the ear clean of foreign objects. However, headphones allow the accumulation of this wax, which is unclean and unsafe to the ear. 

Excess accumulation of wax clogs the ear and hence affects hearing. Excess wax serves as the site for the growth of microorganisms in the ear. The headphones do not allow discharge of these wax but instead aid its growth. Hence, the use of headphones must be maximally minimized, especially before sleeping. 

Effect of Noise on Sleep

As examined by during the research, noise has a natural effect that leads to sleep apnea. Predominantly, it is common irrespective of age or gender; but more prevalent in overworking adults and individuals. The significant effect involves obstructive sleep apnea, disturbance of sleep and airflow. 

A major effect of noise is Sleep apnea. The common type is obstructive sleep apnea. People suffering from obstructive sleep apnea have a series of disturbances during sleep. Clinically, patients suffer from daytime sleepiness and unrefreshing sleep, and fatigue. This is due to the overactivity of the respiratory tract while sleeping. 

In place of normal breathing process- inhalation and exhalation, the patients experience loud snoring and obstruction in their pathway. No doubt, sleep apnea is the major cause of snoring. Relatively, the significant effect of sleep apnea on sleep cannot be underestimated. Aside from the general effect evident in snoring and anxiety, it poses other health threats to the body. 

Considering anxiety as a general effect on sleep apnea. Anxiety subjects the body to medical disorders like- hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and heart disorders. These disorders are common in older age (50 years above) and those suffering from obesity. Obesity-as, a medical disorder, subjects the body to a series of other health complications. 

From the research, it was discovered that there is a correspondence between alcohol intake, sleep apnea and sleep. Excessive consumption of alcohol alone affects sleep. This is due to the effect of alcohol on brain metabolism and stressors. Excessive consumption of alcohol or sedatives also causes sleep apnea. 

Consequently, most individuals use alcohol to stimulate sleep. In the long run, this action becomes an addiction and hence reduces sleep quality in the individual. The use of sedatives and alcohol as stimulants is adverse on the respiratory tissue present in the throat and nostrils. Hence blocking the pathway for breathing. 

Another major cause of sleep apnea that leads to its effect on sleep- snoring is hormonal disabilities. Hormonal conditions like hypothyroidism-defect of the thyroid gland and acromegaly- excess growth hormone cause snoring. These hormonal defects increase swelling of the airway tissues and cause obesity. 

It is important to note that sleep apnea causes sleep deprivation due to sleep disturbance and interrupted sleep routine. Lack of sleep has far-fetched health complications on the body- psychologically and physically. People suffering from sleep apnea- snoring has restricted oxygen in the body system, subjecting the body to cardiovascular diseases- stroke and cardiac arrest. 


Music serves the best interest of everyone. Aside from sleep, music aids daily activities; provides the company and mood needed for all activities. However, the effect of listening to music while sleeping must be emphatically stressed. As therapeutic as music is, falling asleep with music is medically inadvisable. 

Also, there is a need to carefully select the right music as not all music aids quality sleep. While selecting music for sleep- the tempo, speed, genre must soothe your interest. From our study, we noticed that songs with 60-80BPM are medically advised. This tempo matches the normal heartbeat- hence aiding its positive effect on sleep. 

Good news for all users as myAir app suggests ways to help everyone experience a healthy sleep routine. The playlist for sleep must be a mixture of fun songs, slow tempo, and not favourite songs to achieve this effect. Also, the song lyrics must be free from emotional content to prevent depression. 

As medically advised, the use of headphones must be reduced or avoided always, especially before sleep. Sleeping with headphones increases the chances of earwax growth. Growth and accumulation of ear wax subject the ear to complicated ear infections and hearing impairment in the long run. 

The effects of music and noise on the body are widely vast and cannot be limited to a particular part and purpose alone. As long as frequent use of headphones is curbed, music continues to serve its medical importance. 

myAir app suggests psychological interventions tailored to suit each individual’s need. myAir team understands that minimizing or eliminating noises can significantly reduce the degree and intensity of anxiety. Health encompasses physical, mental, and psychological wellbeing. MyAir app aims to ensure all the clients maintain all-around quality health.


Original article: Transportation noise exposure and anxiety: A Systematic review and meta-analysis


By Yuliang Lan, Hannah Roberts, Mei-Po Kwan, Marco Helbich

Footnotes: No potential conflict of interest was recorded


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