Loud noise is an underappreciated source of stress at work. In fact, the incidence of heart attacks rises by 30 percent in people who work in loud places (and can increase to 300 percent in people if the home is very noisy, too). By the way, noise is defined as needing to raise your voice to be heard. If your work is louder than 85 decibels, you need ear protection in the form of earmuffs or molded earplugs. Most office gossips are much lower, though they can be just as annoying; we're talking jackhammers, dental drills, DJs, even crying babies in day care. Plugs can reduce the noise by more than 30 decibels.
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