Cutting out excessive and distracting noises can improve your focus and even your health.

Loud, jarring sounds – think a jackhammer, or speakers at a rock concert – can damage your hearing. But did you know that other kinds of noises are just as harmful? According to a recent Lifehack.com article, excessive or prolonged noise and distracting sounds are detrimental to productivity and can actually affect your health.

The article highlights research that shows correlations between chronic noise (such as that from highways or airports) and high blood pressure, as well as studies that link excessive noise to sleep loss, heart disease, tinnitus and elevated stress levels. The article also delves into the impact of daily distracting sounds, and the benefits of silence:

In one experiment testing how the brain reacts to different types of music, silence was used as a control between the different music clips. But silence actually produced one of the most interesting effects. When compared with so-called “relaxing” music—or even long silence before the experiment began—short, two-minute silent pauses between the music actually proved more relaxing on the brain. It seems the effect of silence is heightened by contrasting it with noise.

The article concludes by suggesting that getting away from noise and disengaging from the world can enhance creative thinking and decision-making skills. Learn more about the benefits of escaping excess noise in the full article.