Impact of noise pollution on human health

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MUZAMIL ARIF

Noise pollution refers to a sound that is annoying, a nuisance or undesired for the ears and that which can impact the activity or behaviour of the animal and human life. It is also known as sound pollution or environmental noise. The word noise (Latin nausea) is an unwanted or unpleasant sound that cause discomfort. Noise is wrong sound in wrong place at the wrong time. Noise pollution is the unwanted sound dumped into the atmosphere leading to health hazards. Noise pollution may be defined as the state of discomfort and restlessness that is caused to may be unwanted high intensity sound known as noise.
The sounds we hear become noise when they are unwanted-when sounds interferes with thinking, concentrating, working, talking, listening, or sleeping. With active populations, road traffic, industry, and construction, cities are expectedly noisy places. Still, noise is a leading source of dissatisfaction for city residents. Urban noise affects more than quality of life issue; the level of noise in many cities can cause serious and long-term harm to health.
Noise pollution refers to any unpleasant, damaging or irritating noise that has the potential to harm people, wildlife or the environment. The decibel (dB) is the main unit used to measure the intensity or loudness of sounds. A sound can also be measured by its pitch, which is the frequency of sound vibrations per second. For example, a low pitch produced by a deep voice, makes fewer vibrations per second than a high voice. Sounds with higher pitch, such as a cry or sound from a violin, have a high rate of vibrations. Sound is usually recorded with a microphone. However, in a sound level meter, a sound sensor is used. Sound sensors work like microphones but are much more accurate.
Sources of Urban Noise
Cities have many sources of noise; many of the more significant and preventable sources arise from traffic and industry, Electronic gadgets, Construction activities, Social events, industrialisation. Motor vehicle traffic is usually the single greatest contributor of noise in most cities.
Industrialisation
Industrialisation is one of the main causes of noise pollution because of the equipments that are used in industries create noise sound.
Transporatation
A large number of vehicles on roads such as cars, buses, auto rickshaw, vans, etc and aeroplanes flying over houses, underground trains produce heavy noise in urban areas.
Construction Sites
Building and car park construction and road and pavement resurfacing works are very noisy. For example, a pneumatic drill produces 110 dB.
Air traffic noise
There are fewer aircraft flying over cities than there are cars on the roads, but the impact is greater. A single aircraft produces 130 dB. In urban areas more and more Air traffics fly and air traffic such as aeroplanes, rockets, Helicopter etc. create more sound and this sound creates sound pollution.
Agricultural machines
Tractors, thrashers, harvesters, tube wells, powered tillers etc. have all made agriculture highly mechanical but at the same time highly noisy. Noise level 90 dB to 98 dB due to running of farm machines have been recorded in Punjab in urban areas more and more machines are used for working as compare to rural areas so these machines create more sound pollution in urban areas.
Defence Equipments
A lot of noise pollution is added to the atmosphere by artillery, tanks, launching of rockets, explosions, exercising of military airplanes and shooting practices. Screams of jet engines and sonic booms have a deafening impact on ears and in extreme cases have been known to shatter window panes and old dilapidated buildings.
Miscellaneous sources
The automobile repair shops, construction-works, blasting, bulldozing, stone crushing, Tractors sounds, etc. are other sources of noise pollution in urban areas. Miscellaneous sources create more and more sound pollution in urban areas.
Animals sounds
The noise/sound made by animals cannot go unnoticed, particularly a howling or barking dog. These can produce noise around 60-80 dB.
Social events
Noise is at its peak in most of the social events. Whether it is marriage, parties, pub, disc or place of worship, people normally flout rules set by the local administration and create a nuisance in area.
People play songs on full volume and dance till midnight, which makes the condition of people living nearby pretty worse. In markets, one can see people selling clothes via making a loud noise to attract the attention of people.
Household
The household is an industry in itself and is a source of many indoor noises such as the banging of doors, noise of playing children, crying of infants, moving of furniture, loud conversation of the inhabitants etc. Besides these are the entertainment equipments in the house, namely the radio, record-players and television sets. Domestic gadgets like the mixer-grinders, pressure cookers, desert coolers, air- conditioners, exhaust fans, vacuum cleaners, sewing and washing machines are all indoor sources of noise pollution.
Impacts of sound pollution on human
Sound pollution can cause many health problems such as hearing impairment, high blood pressures, and affects a person’s mental health. Sound pollution causes many problem in human health.
Heart problems
Heart-related problem can be caused by noise pollution. As noise levels constrict the arteries, the high intensity sound causes a dramatic rise in the blood pressure, disrupting blood flow. The heart rate also increases. Due to the increased blood pressure, the heart problems such as ischemic heart diseases are caused. Excess noise also increased inflammation in the arteries, a known trigger for cardiovascular problems.
Hearing problems
Noise pollution impacts millions of people on a daily basis. The most common health problem it causes is Noise Induced Hearing Loss. Noise pollution can causes hearing problems such as tinnitus. It becomes noise for the ear, when the sound levels cross then 70dB mark. Noise levels above 80dB produce damaging effects to the ear. It can cause irreparable damage and lead to permanent hearing losses, when the noise level is above 100 decibels for a considerable period of time.
Sleeplessness
Night sleep can be interrupted by noise. The persons feels extremely annoyed and uncomfortable when it occurs. It interrupted sleep show a sharp drip in their energy levels. Often results into extreme fatigue. Aperson’s ability to work efficiently is decreased by this.
Mental Health Problems
Sound pollution can cause high stress level as well as arouse violent behaviour. Constant noise can also trigger headaches, make peoples tense and anxious, and disturb emotional balance.
Lack of concentration
Children living in noisy areas where found to have less concentration and reading ability. Adults working in noisy environments found it difficult to solve problems and had shorter attention spans.
Release of stress hormones
Stress hormones such as adrenalineand cortisol are discharged by noise/sound pollution. Stress level are increased by these hormones and stifles the immune system.
High blood pressure
Constant noise/sound can cause high blood pressure. This is mainly because of the effect of stress hormones on the body.
Ways to control noise pollution
(1) Noise-generating factories should be located far away from the populated areas.
(2)Proper maintenance of machinery checks noise pollution.
(3)Use of pressure horns in automobiles in the densely populated areas should be banned.
(4) Loudspeakers and mikes should be banned from 10 pm to 6 am.
(5) Firecrackers producing loud noise should be banned.
(6) Televisions, music systems, VCDs should be played at a low volume.
(7) Get your vehicle checked regularly and lubricate it properly that it doesn’t produce too much noise.
(8) Listening to music with headphones is also a good step forward.
(9) Use earplugs when you are in a noisy area because it lowers the overall noise of the surroundings.
(10) In the case of new buildings, you can insulate your home with noise-absorbing
materials.
To conclude, it is extremely essential that we take noise/sound pollution very seriously. There are a lot of harmful effects of sound pollution to the human health and we must do all we can to help prevent, control and, manage sound pollution in our environment. It is very important that we employ various noise control techniques and do the best we can in stopping noise pollution. We can control noise pollution through proper urban planning and separating residential areas from industrial areas. We must protect our environment from sound pollution.

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