You might have heard about the detrimental effects of noise pollution on human life and wildlife, isn’t it? But have you dived deeper to contemplate what can noise pollution do to you? Many people are not even aware of the impacts it can have on our health. Not only does the loud and roaring noise of traffic and music can damage ears, cause stress, and upset the vitals of the body such as the brain and hormones, but the noise from sirens and ships in the sea is harmful to the marine life too.
Let us gather a few more insights to understand the same in detail.
How worse is noise pollution?
Noise pollution is a growing problem in many parts of the world. According to the World Health Organization or WHO, it is one of the most hazardous environmental threats to human and animal health. Also, as per the EEA or Environmental noise in Europe 2020 report, environmental noise such as traffic noise, etc., is a major environmental problem that significantly affects the health and well-being of millions of people. Long-term noise pollution can cause a variety of health issues such as irritability, sleep disturbance, cardiovascular diseases, upset metabolic system, cognitive impairment, etc.
Main contributors to Noise pollution
The major contributors to noise pollution are:
- Traffic noise: Traffic noise causes most of the noise pollution, which is up to 100 dB.
- Air traffic noise: A single aircraft can produce 130 dB.
- Construction work: Construction on the road like a pneumatic drill can produce 110 dB.
- Bars and pubs: Loud DJ and music can produce more than 100 dB.
- Animals: Barking dogs can produce 60- to dB too.
Noise pollution affects human health
World Health Organization (WHO) released a report named “Burden of disease from environmental noise” in 2011. As per this study, it was inferred that the environmental noise from planes, trains, had strong links to health conditions like cardiovascular disease, sleep disturbance, tinnitus, annoyance, etc.
Noise pollution causes deterioration of human health in many ways. Some of the main ill effects are listed below:
Exposure to high levels of noise of above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. The louder and prolonged the sound is, the shorter time it takes to happen hearing loss. The dangerous sound levels can damage the delicate hairs of the inner ear or the sound receivers, causing permanent hearing loss. Unfortunately, this cannot be corrected or reversed. Once the inner ear is damaged by noise, you cannot restore the same.
The noise that can produce more than 45 dB can disturb your sleep. According to the WHO, a sound above 30 dB can cause amnesia. There are many latent effects of loud noise, like behavior disorder and aggression.
Memory loss and lack of concentration
Roaring noise can also affect people’s ability to focus and concentrate. It hampers professional performance and lowers productivity. It is also bad for the memory too, and you will not be able to remember what you have learned.
Tinnitus is an auditory disorder happening due to the perception of a sound. Tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss. The tinnitus can be temporary or permanent, depending on the type and degree of noise exposure.
Noise causes cardiovascular health problems too, such as hypertension. If the noise level is greater than 50 dB, it may increase the risk of myocardial infarction, coronary artery disease, increase in blood pressure, constriction of arterial blood flow, vasoconstriction leading to high adrenaline levels or stress reactions, increase in cortisol and angiotensin-II levels, etc.
Both government and international bodies like WHO, keep formulating policies to lower noise pollution such as implementing noise regulations and taking many preventive measures. They developed policies to separate residential zones and airports, taking fines for exceeding noise limits, installing noise insulation in public buildings, etc.
We can also do out bit. To reduce noise pollution, here are a few initiatives you can take:
- Avoid noisy leisure activities.
- Chose the transport options that cause less noise such as bicycles, electric vehicles, etc.
- Insulating your home is one of the best things you can do to save yourself from impairment.
- Use headphones instead of playing loud music, disturbing fellow residents and neighbors.