Noise Pollution - Definition, Types, Effects on Human Health

Noise Pollution – Definition, Types, Effects on Human Health

What is Noise Pollution?

The word noise originates from the word "nausea," which assumes an illness that makes you feel like you need to projectile vomit. Noise is an annoying and unwanted sound that makes people feel bad. The amount of sound is assessed in decibels (dB). The quietest sound that a person can notice is 1 Db. Noise pollution has become a problem because people make more noise around them. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that noise pollution is any noise that is louder than 65 decibels (dB). Specifically, noise becomes detrimental when it's louder than 75 decibels (dB), and it hurts when it's louder than 120 dB. Some of the main things that cause it are cars, airplanes, factory equipment, speakers, explosions, etc. Some other appliances, like the TV, stereo, transistor, etc., are also directly related to noise pollution when used at high volumes.

Causes and Types of Noise Pollution

Here are the most common types of noise pollution based on the source:

  • Industrialization has led to more noise pollution because heavy machines like generators, mills, and huge exhaust fans are used, making noise that people don't want to hear.
  • Vehicles: The number of cars and trucks on the roads is growing, the second cause of noise pollution.
  • Loudspeakers are used at weddings and other public events, which causes noise in the neighborhood.
  • Noise pollution is made worse by things like mining and building construction.

Effects of Noise Pollution on Human Health

  • Noise pollution can have both direct and indirect effects on people's physical health.
  • In extreme cases, hearing loss can be caused directly by loud sounds. Some examples of hearing loss caused by noise include:
    • Abnormal loudness perception
    • Tinnitus, which causes a high-pitched ringing in the ears 
  • Some studies also show that noise pollution may indirectly cause other health problems.
    • Your heartbeat, cardiac output, blood viscosity, and respiratory rate increase. The blood vessels constrict, and your muscles tighten. There is also a link between being exposed to noise for a long time and having a higher risk of heart disease.
  • In addition, noise pollution can also worsen:
    • Migraines
    • Your digestion gets slower.
    • Sleep problems
    • Productivity challenges
    • Noise pollution doesn't necessarily cause dementia, but it can make it worse or make it start sooner.

When you’re pregnant, being around loud noises can hurt your unborn child’s hearing.

There is some evidence that noise pollution can cause babies to be born with low birth weights. Still, we need to learn more about this.

Effects on kids through a study published in 2014 found that children's hearing could change permanently if they were exposed to noise for 8 hours a day. For example, they might not be able to recognize certain frequencies.

Ways to reduce Noise Pollution

In some cases, noise pollution is unavoidable. But there are ways to reduce noise inside the house. One could try:

  • When there is a lot of noise, you should wear earplugs.
  • Keep the noise level in your bedroom at around 35 dB at night and around 40 dB in the rest of your house during the day.
  • Choose a place to live that is as far away from heavy traffic as possible.
  • Don't wear earphones for too long, especially when the volume is high.
  • If you can, stay away from jobs that put you in regular contact with a loud noise.
  • Things like air conditioners, heaters, fans, and other appliances can add to the noise level in the home as a whole. Try turning them off more often or setting a timer, so they only turn on at certain times.
  • Fix or replace old machines. Older versions of appliances, cars, and other things can be noisier than newer ones. Upgrade or get rid of loud things in your home.
  • Adding insulation around the house in strategic places can help block out noises from other rooms, neighbors, or outside. Rugs, carpets, and curtains might also help to reduce noise pollution.