Boy racers could be driving you mad - literally

Boy racers could literally be driving the country mad from the noise their cars create, according to a survey by the National Foundation for the Deaf.

The foundation commissioned the survey on what noises New Zealanders find most annoying and could be making them ill physically or mentally, in the lead up to the inaugural Noise Awareness Day, which is today.

Persistent noise has been linked with increased stress levels, headaches, aggressive behaviour, loss of sleep and even heart disease and high blood pressure, the foundation said.

Boy racers' exhaust was ranked as the number one annoying noise in New Zealand, followed closely by dogs barking and car or house alarms.

Snoring, children crying, "body noises" such as chewing or whistling, and other people's mobile phones ringing also ranked in the top 10.

Executive manager Marianne Schumacher said governmental controls should be put in place to protect citizens from adverse health effects resulting from long-term noise exposure.

"Through Noise Awareness Day, we want people to stop and think about what they are doing, how loud it is and do they really need to do it.

"Turning down the stereo could make the difference to your neighbour's sanity," said Ms Schumacher.

Auckland University of Technology psychology lecturer Dr Daniel Shepherd pointed to World Health Organisation research showing chronic exposure to noise could have health impacts, ranging from anxiety and nausea to headaches, impotence and psychosis.


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