What is Noise?
Sound is vital to our daily lives. Without sound, no verbal communication between human beings is possible. However, any sound that is not desired by the recipient is called noise.
Noise is sound without any value. Noise is known to have unpleasant effects on humans and cause discomfort to the ears.
How is sound measured?
Sound is measured by many complex systems, but the best known unit of measurement is decibel, a unit named after Sir Alfred Bell. Human ear is known to be sensitive to an extremely widerange of intensity from 0 to 180 decibels. Though these estimates vary from person to person, but generally people start feeling pain and discomfort at the noise level of 100 decibels.
Effects of Noise Pollution
Noise has adverse effects on animals too. When animals are subjected to intense sound levels, the noise does damage to their hearing mechanism and stress response. The high intensity of noise also affects non-living things like buildings. Supersonic airplanes create a shockwave called sonic boom which, on hitting the ground, damages the window panes and building structures.
Sources of Noise Pollution
There are various indoor and outdoor sources of noise. The indoor sources of noise pollution include household gadgets like television, music systems and mixer grinders. The outdoor sources of noise pollution include the traffic on the roads, aircrafts, industriesand social events in which loudspeakers are used at full volume.
The most alarming effect of noise pollution on the humans is impairment of hearing. Prolonged exposure to high pitched noise may damage the eardrum and result in permanent loss of hearing. Extreme noise causes anxiety, headaches, irritability and nervousness. It is also known to cause unexplained fatigue in people and a downslide in their work efficiency. Just try to recall, what happens to you when there is a religious function in your vicinity and the loudspeakers are being used at full volume? You are not able to sleep soundly that night and the next day, you are completely stressed out; you don’t want to go to school and even if you do, you don’t want to study anything in the class because you are way too sleepy. Such late night functions are a serious cause of concern if they are organized during the examination days.
Prevention of Noise Pollution
Well, so what is our government doing to prevent noise pollution? There are various laws to ensure that the noise making industries are located far from the residential areas. The industries are also directed to install silencing devices in their noisy machines. Community law enforcers are also keeping a check on the misuse of loudspeakers, outdoor parties and discos, as well as public announcement systems. Some states have also banned the use of loudspeakers after 10 pm in the night to avoid public discomfort. Though there is little that we can do about the existing ones, but in the future, airports, bus terminals and railway stations should be constructed away from the living places.
The supervisory authorities of the residential buildings must ensure that the noise producing machines like generators are installed in a basement or garage, far from the bedrooms of the flats. Planting trees in and around the residential areas is a good way to reduce noise pollution as they absorb sound.
11 Ways to reduce Noise Pollution
- If you are fond of playing guitar or drums, try to make your room ‘soundproof’ with curtains, window inserts, carpeting, and by closing windows and doors.
- Don’t blast music on your computer or music system. Be considerate about the comfort of those around you.
- Don’t slam your car doors or the doors of your house. Believe us, your parents would be very happy if you do not enter or exit with a bang!
- Keep the volume of your television under reasonable limits.
- If you have a pet dog, train it not to bark unnecessarily.
- You don’t need to shout when you can have civil conversations with your friends.
- Speak softly on the telephone. Long gone are the days when people had to yell at the top of their voices to make themselves heard on the telephone.
- If you have a garden area in front or around your house, plant trees and bushes around you house. Not only do they give out fresh air to breathe, they are also known to absorb sound.
- Put carpets, mats, rugs, etc. in your house as they also absorb sound.
- Don’t blow your car’s horn ‘just like that’; make sure you have a valid reason.
- It is absolutely essential for our health and happiness that all sorts of pollution are kept under control. We can contribute towards this noble cause by adopting some of the measures listed above to put a check on noise pollution.
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