Why Silence is Important
Studies show that silence is important to our brains. A study in 2013 looked at the affect of noise on mice brains. It found that two hours of silence a day caused part of the the mice’s brains to grow. The part associated with emotion, learning and memory added more cells and these appeared to develop into working neurons. Increasing the functioning of the brain.
Another study showed that the brain is always active in processing and evaluating information, even when in a low functioning state. Without the distraction of noise or goal orientated tasks the brain has quiet time during which it processes information. It is this brain mode that helps you self-reflect and think about your own personality and characteristics. Helping you think in new ways.
Noise can have a severe effect on brains causing stress. The ear carries sound waves to the brain transforming them into electrical signals. Even when sleeping the brain reacts to these signals. Too strong or frequent electrical signals trigger the release of stress hormones. These will be elevated if you live in a noisy environment. Some studies link chronic noise levels in a living environment to harmful stress in children.
Silence seems to do the opposite. It releases tension in the brain and body. Listening to silence has been shown to be more relaxing than calm music. Noise also harms task performance at work and at school. It can increase errors and decrease motivation. Reading attention, memory and problem solving can all be affected.
Children in classrooms or households near flight paths, highways or railways are slower in their development of language and cognitive skills and have lower reading scores.
Silence can restore some of that lost function. In low-level sensory environments the brain restores itself, mitigating some of the damage done by noise.
Silence is golden they say. It seems to have benefits. A quiet walk in your neighbourhood. A trip to the park. A day in the country side. All may do you and your brain a lot of good.
The Importance of Silence, Matt, Nov 2016