We are surrounded by sound. From coworker chitchat to the beeping of traffic outside to that tinny trace of music coming from a fellow commuter's earbuds, we often don't consider the noise that makes up our daily environments. But the truth is that the distant jackhammers, incessant elevator bells, and even the whistling and humming of the people around us can have a real effect on our health and wellness.

As pioneering noise researcher and environmental psychologist Arline Bronzaft, Ph.D., of the City University of New York has said, noise is in the ear of the beholder. “While the ear picks up the sound waves and sends it to the temporal lobe for interpretation, it’s the higher senses of the brain that determine whether that sound is unwanted, unpleasant, or disturbing.”

Read on to learn more about how noise affects your well-being.

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