Noise pollution (or environmental noise) is displeasing human-, animal- or machine-created sound that disrupts the activity or balance of human or animal life. A common form of noise pollution is from transportation, principally motor vehicles. The word noise comes from the Latin word nausea meaning seasickness.
The source of most noise worldwide is transportation systems, motor vehicle noise, but also including aircraft noise and rail noise. Poor urban planning may give rise to noise pollution, since side-by-side industrial and residential buildings can result in noise pollution in the residential area.
Other sources are car alarms, emergency service sirens, office equipment, factory machinery, construction work, groundskeeping equipment, barking dogs, appliances, power tools, lighting hum, audio entertainment systems, loudspeakers and noisy people.
Causes of Noise Pollution
Noise Pollution is the name given to any displeasing noise that is created by a human, animal or machine. This sound disrupts the activity and balance of human or animal life.
There are a number of causes of Noise Pollution such as:
- Sounds from Motor Vehicles.
- Sounds from musicle instruments.
- poor urban planning
- Noise from aircrafts and railways.
- Car alarms
- Office equipment
- Factory machinery
- Construction work
- Groundskeeping Equipment
- Barking animals
- Power tools
- Lighting hum
- Audio instruments
- Noise created by people.
Noise Pollution Effects
Noise health effects are both health and behavioural in nature. The unwanted sound is called noise. This unwanted sound can damage physiological and psychological health. Noise pollution can cause annoyance and aggression, hypertension, high stress levels, tinnitus, hearing loss, sleep disturbances, and other harmful effects. Furthermore, stress and hypertension are the leading causes to health problems, whereas tinnitus can lead to forgetfulness, severe depression and at times panic attacks.
Chronic exposure to noise may cause noise-induced hearing loss. Older males exposed to significant occupational noise demonstrate significantly reduced hearing sensitivity than their non-exposed peers, though differences in hearing sensitivity decrease with time and the two groups are indistinguishable by age 79. A comparison of Maaban tribesmen, who were insignificantly exposed to transportation or industrial noise, to a typical U.S. population showed that chronic exposure to moderately high levels of environmental noise contributes to hearing loss.
High noise levels can contribute to cardiovascular effects and exposure to moderately high levels during a single eight hour period causes a statistical rise in blood pressure of five to ten points and an increase in stress and vasoconstriction leading to the increased blood pressure noted above as well as to increased incidence of coronary artery disease.
Noise pollution is also a cause of annoyance. A 2005 study by Spanish researchers found that in urban areas households are willing to pay approximately four Euros per decibel per year for noise reduction.
Noise Pollution Solutions
Unlike other types of environmental issues such as air and water pollution, noise or sound is transient or short-lived. Thus, once you stop generating sound, the noise pollution problem is solved. The main objective behind noise pollution solutions is to absorb, contain and cancel the source of noise. The following is a list of the effective noise pollution solutions or noise pollution remedies that will help in combating the various health effects of noise pollution.
Automobile Servicing: As mentioned already, automobiles account to the highest production of noise. Regular servicing of the vehicles is an effectual measure to lower the intensity of sound produced by them. If all the automobile owners take up this step, then there will be significant reduction in noise pollution.
Machine Quality: Similar to vehicles, the quality of machines should be optimized, so as to reduce sound production. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 30 million Americans are exposed to noise pollution in the workplaces. Lubrication of the machinery and servicing should be done to minimize noise generation.
Soundproof Homes: Soundproof doors and windows can be installed to block unwanted noise from outside. You can also opt for walls with sound control material. These soundproofing options are of utmost importance for complete relaxation, especially if you are staying in a crowded city area.
Tree Plantation: Planting bushes and trees in and around sound generating sources is another effective solution for noise pollution. Dense shrubs and trees block sound passage, thus avoiding disturbance to the surrounding areas. You can also plant trees around your residential area to live peacefully.
Loudspeaker Prohibition: Using loudspeaker in public areas is another major cause of noise pollution. This should be banned at any cost for the welfare of the people. Strict laws should be imposed against those who violate and play loudspeakers in crowded areas and public places.
Factory Location: Industrial noise pollution is not different from other pollution types in causing health hazards on humans and animals. Thus, factories and industries should be located in far off places from the residential areas. Installation of sound detectors will help in analyzing the sound frequencies on a regular basis. Read more on effects of industrial noise pollution.
White Noise Machine: The latest technology for overcoming the effects of noise pollution is using white noise machine. It is a device meant for converting unbearable noise into pleasant sound. A white noise machine is placed between the source of noise and the receptor. It produces soft sound like that of a waterfall, fan and soft music.