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Page Two of a three-page article:
Understanding Systemic Noise Trauma

The Definition of Stress

When a healthy person lives in healthy surroundings, his or her autonomic nervous system will frequently shift up and down the continuum of tension and relaxation, while in the process causing many of the major organs to speed-up or slow-down their rate of functioning.

However, sometimes something happens to a person that will cause their autonomic nervous system to lock into high gear for far longer than is healthy. That can happen as a result of using stimulant drugs, of course, and many other people experience a prolonged speed-up because they live in dangerous surroundings where fear is part of their everyday existence. That is to be expected, since anxious thoughts and the perception of danger tend to rev-up the ANS, and can lock the autonomic processes into a state of excitement for a period of time that far exceeds the body's capacity to adapt in a healthy fashion.

Upsetting interactions with those around you that continue over time can also trigger a prolonged autonomic imbalance.

When your body is in a state of autonomic speed-up so often that it causes you to grow emotionally distressed, and/or your body begins to break down under the all-too-frequent strain, you are said to be in a state of stress.

Stress-Related Disorders

The term stress-related disorder refers to any physical or psychological disorder that is caused by or exacerbated by stress. In other words, any physical or psychological disorder that is caused by or exacerbated by an autonomic imbalance in which the body is strained by an untenably frequent, sustained arousal of the unconscious processes.

Among the most notable stress-related disorders are anxiety disorders, phobias, panic disorder, essential hypertension, chronic depression, migraine headaches, and muscle-contraction headaches. Because the definition of a stress-related disorder includes any maladies that are exacerbated by stress, a definitive list would be huge, since most anything that can go wrong with a human being is sure to be exacerbated if that person is experiencing an autonomic disruption that makes it difficult for them to rest, relax and sleep and, thereby, recover.

Noise-Induced Trauma

Noise speeds up the ANS which is, of course, why it so often produces high blood pressure, tight muscles, and all the rest of it. If the autonomic speed-up that is causing or exacerbating your particular disorder is, in turn, caused by exposure to chronic noise, then, you are said to be suffering from noise trauma, or noise-induced trauma. Sometimes we add in the word systemic to note the fact that we are speaking of trauma that extends throughout the entire bodily system, as opposed to the local trauma that occurs when loud sound damages someone's hearing, without necessarily having any significant impact on the functioning of that person's bodywide systems.

The portion of The Symptoms and Side Effects poster, titled, The Impact of forcibly projecting noise into the home environment over time, lists some of the many stress-related disorders that can be produced by noise-induced trauma.

If your noise-induced autonomic speed-up makes you more anxious than anything else, then you will be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, while if your noise-induced autonomic speed-up gives you high blood pressure, then, you will be diagnosed with essential hypertension. If, more than anything else, your noise-induced autonomic speed-up gives you headaches, then you will be diagnosed with muscle contraction or migraine headaches.

Thus, systemic noise trauma is itself a stress-related disorder that can manifest as any number of other stress-related disorders.

We see, then, that noise can create illness and emotional distress in the form of one or more of the stress-related disorders. It can also exacerbate any pre-existing conditions.

However, when you go to the doctor or a psychologist for help, in all probability he will point to your most pronounced symptom - the headache, the emotional labilty, your sleeping problems or whatever - and declare that the symptom is the problem, or mistakenly conclude that your most pronounced symptom is a reflection of some other, peripherally-related variable, when in reality, the symptom of exposure to chronic noise which you are experiencing is just the most pronounced manifestation of a noise-induced autonomic imbalance.

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This page on Noise Trauma is part of Section Seven:
the Harm section of