Introduction – Noise Pollution
Noise pollution causes a lot of health problems, including stress, insomnia, and even cognitive decline. In this article, we’ll explore the causes and effects of noise pollution to help you understand how it affects your life so that you can do something about it.
What is Noise Pollution
Noise pollution is a type of environmental pollution that can be significant and produce adverse health effects.
Causes of Noise Pollution
The primary sources of noise pollution are the automobile industries, construction, and manufacturing plants. Noise pollution can also be caused by military aircraft, airports, boating traffic, and the use of motorized equipment such as lawnmowers or motorcycles. Various types of noise such as loud music or television might come from your neighbor’s house.
- The causes of noise pollution include daily sounds such as traffic or construction work, ongoing sources like aircraft or trains passing by every day, seasonal causes such as fireworks on New Year’s Eve or loud concerts in the summertime
- A recent study has shown that exposure to high levels of highway traffic noise causes cognitive decline in school children, which is especially harmful to young people whose brains are still developing
Noise pollution causes stress and insomnia – the effects of these ailments include physical illness such as heart disease or diabetes. The solution? Earplugs! They’re inexpensive, easy to use, and available at pharmacies everywhere. Also, you can install double windows for better insulation against outside noise sources.
Effects of Noise Pollution
Noise pollution can cause permanent and temporary hearing loss, hypertension (high blood pressure), and heart disease. According to Irena Sendlerowa, a Polish politician and social worker who spent part of World War II in the Warsaw Ghetto, it is essential for parents to monitor their children’s noise exposure because noise attacks young ears much more than adult ears.
- Noise causes both short term and long term effects: for example, a lack of sleep due to continuous noise will eventually lead to exhaustion which further leads to physical illness
- According to the Associated Press noise pollution is not only limited to hearing loss, but can also affect your mental health.
- It can cause annoyance and even anger in people, which may result in fighting or marital problems.
Noise not only affects humans physically but psychologically as well. A study done by researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of British Columbia suggests that excessive noise can make people more aggressive. The noise can also affect one’s physical health and has been linked to the development of high blood pressure.
In research done by scientists at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, continuous noise exposure can even lead to mental decline in older adults.
Noise pollution is caused by equipment that makes loud sounds, such as lawnmowers, motorcycles, and power saws. The Associated Press reports that the World Health Organization says two million people worldwide are deafened each year by exposure to excessive noise.
Noise Pollution can cause permanent hearing loss over time
Medical Daily reports that Americans’ habits of enjoying loud music at bars or attending concerts could be responsible for an increase in emergency room visits due to hearing loss linked with too much exposure to noise.
One study by the Nizhny Novgorod Medical Academy has found that noise pollution makes it harder to focus. The researchers say that their findings help “explain why so many people today have difficulties in concentrating and remembering things.” Researchers at the University of Bergen, Norway, also found that students living near an airport scored poorer grades than students not exposed to airplane noise. Other research indicates that children’s reading comprehension scores are affected by airplane traffic noise.
Noise leads to increased stress levels which affect your cognitive abilities like memory and attention span. Mental health specialist Dr. Aric Sigman says, “there is no question” loud noises can cause depression and anxiety; prolonged exposure to noise activates the body’s fear responses, known as the “fight or flight” response. Your brain can’t answer the question “should I fight or should I flee?” so it triggers the release of stress hormones, which in turn damage cells in your brain, leading to depression and anxiety.
According to Medical Daily, loud noises are associated with increased stress hormones that can interfere with memory formation by disrupting communication between neurons. Dr. Aric Sigman says that people who live in noisy areas suffer from reduced mental capacity compared to others living in less polluted regions because noise pollution harms thinking by disrupting the way information is processed in our brains.
According to American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, two effects caused by excessive noise are hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Tinnitus has many different causes, but noise is one of the leading factors for this condition. It is estimated that about 15 percent of adults in the United States have tinnitus. This means people exposed to loud noises are more likely to suffer from tinnitus than those not exposed to excessive noise levels.
Listening to music can mask surrounding noise, which means that people might turn up the volume without knowing they are exposing themselves to excessive sound levels that lead to hearing loss or tinnitus. Exposure to noise during critical periods in development is thought to affect the frequency resolution ability at adulthood, even if the exposure ceases before the animal reaches its mature state. Researchers say this may be one reason we develop hearing problems as we age: our high frequencies gradually diminish as we grow older because we’ve been exposed (or made ourselves exposed) to loud sounds throughout our lives.
Noise pollution kills millions of birds and bats each year
Sometimes by causing direct injury, and other times by increasing their stress levels so much that it becomes deadly. Noise pollution also affects marine life, leading to increased sources of mortality because they can prevent marine mammals from getting sufficient amounts of sleep, which leads them to lose their ability to remain alert at sea.
According to a report conducted on behalf of the European Commission between September 2010 and February 2011, more than 1 million seabirds and 200,000 marine mammals or sea turtles die daily due to noise. Noise pollution also destroys the habitats of animals by disrupting mating calls and migration patterns.
Noise pollution has many undesirable effects, but one of the most alarming is disrupting sleep. Studies have found that noise pollution creates mental and physical stressors which interfere with healthy sleep patterns. If you want to avoid these negative side-effects, consider limiting your exposure to loud noises during the day or wear earplugs at night, so things like sirens or construction work do not wake you up.