Concept: Noise Pollution
What is noise pollution?
The disturbance caused in the environment by loud and harsh sounds from different sound sources that may result in different health hazards is called noise pollution.
Sources of noise pollution:
Some familiar sources of noise pollution are as follows—
- Equipment in the factories.
- Bursting of firecrackers.
- Activities in the construction sites.
- Car, aeroplane and train engines.
- The honking of horns.
- Television, radio and sound system when used at high volumes.
All these are man-made sources of noise pollution. However, some natural sources that also cause noise pollution are winds, rainfall, storms, etc. However, we should remember that noise pollution caused by man-made sources is far worse than natural sources.
Types of noise pollution:
Noise pollution caused by man-made sources can be classified into the following categories—
- Industrial noise pollution : Noise pollution caused by heavy machinery in the factories.
- Transport noise pollution : Noise pollution caused by vehicles like cars, trucks and buses.
- Neighbourhood noise pollution : Noise coming from the construction sites and noise generated during various events accompanied by blaring loudspeakers, noise from loud televisions and radios contribute to neighbourhood noise pollution.
How to measure noise?
Noise is measured on a scale known as the decibel scale. One decibel (dB) is equivalent to the faintest sound the human ear can hear.
- We can hear a conversation of 20 dB very easily.
- People may feel discomfort with a sound of 80 to 85 dB.
- Sound becomes painful at around 120 dB.
- Sound can kill someone if it is increased up to 180 dB.
Some noise sources and their intensity:
|Normal conversation||15 - 60|
|Traffic||50 - 90|
|Low volume radio||35 - 60|
|Office noise||60 - 80|
|Alarm clock||70 - 80|
|Aircraft||110 - 120|
|Rocket launching||170 - 180|
Causes of noise pollution:
- One of the main sources of noise pollution is the use of electronic gadgets like vacuum cleaners, washing machines, mixers, televisions, radios and music systems.
- Noise pollution is also caused by the different equipment used in the factories.
- Vehicles like cars, buses, trucks, aeroplanes and trains also contribute to noise pollution.
- Many festivities are accompanied by high-volume loudspeakers and the bursting of firecrackers.
- The construction of buildings and mining activities also cause noise pollution.
Effects of noise pollution:
Prolonged exposure to loud and unpleasant causes serious health problems, as it affects us mentally and physically.
- Temporary loss of hearing : Listening to loud and harsh noise for a long time may lead to temporary loss of hearing.
- Deafness : It is the most severe effect of noise pollution. Due to constant exposure to loud noise, our eardrums stop working, resulting in permanent loss of hearing.
- Hypertension : Loud noise can increase blood pressure and induce hypertension in many people.
- Lack of fluency in speech : Loud noise also can interfere with speech and communication.
- Behavioural changes : Constant exposure to loud noise makes a person short-tempered, impatient and irritable.
- Insomnia : Constantly hearing unpleasant and harsh noise may interfere with the sleep cycles and causes insomnia.
- Cardiac diseases : Noise pollution increases blood pressure, which leads to cardiac diseases.
Prevention of noise pollution:
- Minimising the use of horns while driving.
- Minimum use of loudspeakers and firecrackers during the festivities and functions.
- Proper use of the household electronic devices.
- Maintaining a silent zone around hospitals, commercial buildings and educational institutes and installing soundproof systems.
- Planting a dense tree cover as trees absorb sounds to a large extent.
Cardiac: Anything related to the heart.
Insomnia: The inability to sleep.
Did You Know?
- It has been found that the mining industry has the loudest work environment.
- Loud noise can adversely damage a child’s brain development.
- Not only humans but animals too get affected by noise pollution. They suffer from hearing loss and also face behavioural issues.
- People who suffer from hearing loss use hearing aids that help them listen by making sounds audible.