We know that a sound is a form of energy. Sometimes the sound can be soothing to listen to and, at times, loud to hear. Sound can travel in the air and is produced by the vibration of objects. Regular exposure to a higher sound level that impacts humans and other living organisms is known as sound pollution.

Pritish Kumar gives an illustration of noise pollution, its types, how it causes, its effects and prevention measures.

What is Noise Pollution?

The word noise is derived from the Latin word ‘Nausea’, which means sickness in which one feels the need to vomit. Noise is the unpleasant and undesirable sound which leads to discomfort in human beings. The intensity of sound is measured in decibels (dB). The faintest sound that the human ear can hear is 1 Db. Due to increasing noise around the civilizations, noise pollution has become a matter of concern. Some of its major causes are vehicles, aircraft, industrial machines, loudspeakers, crackers, etc. When used at high volume, some other appliances also contribute to noise pollution, like television, transistor, radio, etc.

Types of Noise Pollution

Following are the three types of pollution:

  • Transport Noise
  • Neighbourhood Noise
  • Industrial Noise

Different causes of noise pollution

Transport Noise

It mainly consists of traffic noise which has increased in recent years with the increase in the number of vehicles. The increase in noise pollution leads to deafening of older people, headache, hypertension, etc.

Neighbourhood Noise

The noise from gadgets, household utensils etc. Some of the main sources are musical instruments, transistors, loudspeakers, etc.

Industrial Noise

It is the high-intensity sound which is caused by heavy industrial machines. According to many researches, industrial noise pollution damages the hearing ability to around 20%.

Causes and Sources of Noise Pollution

Following are the causes and sources of noise pollution:

Industrialisation: Industrialisation has led to an increase in noise pollution as the use of heavy machinery such as generators, mills, huge exhaust fans are used, resulting in the production of unwanted noise.

Vehicles: Increased number of vehicles on the roads are the second reason for noise pollution.

Events: Weddings, public gatherings involve loudspeakers to play music resulting in the production of unwanted noise in the neighbourhood.

Construction sites: Mining, construction of buildings, etc add to the noise pollution.

Noise Pollution Examples

Following are the examples of noise pollution:

  • Unnecessary usage of horns
  • Using loudspeakers either for religious functions or for political purposes
  • Unnecessary usage of fireworks
  • Industrial noise
  • Construction noise
  • Noise from transportation such as railway and aircraft

Effects of Noise Pollution on Human Health

Noise pollution can be hazardous to human health in the following ways:

Hypertension: It is a direct result of noise pollution which is caused due to elevated blood levels for a longer duration.

Hearing loss: Constant exposure of human ears to loud noise that are beyond the range of sound that human ears can withstand damages the eardrums, resulting in loss of hearing.

Sleeping disorders: Lack of sleep might result in fatigue and low energy level throughout the day affecting everyday activities. Noise pollution hampers the sleep cycles leading to irritation and an uncomfortable state of mind.

Cardiovascular issues: Heart-related problems such as blood pressure level, stress and cardiovascular diseases might come up in a normal person and a person suffering from any of these diseases might feel a sudden shoot up in the level.

Prevention of Noise Pollution

Some noise pollution preventive measures are provided in the points below.

  • Honking in public places like teaching institutes, hospitals, etc. should be banned.
  • In commercial, hospital, and industrial buildings, adequate soundproof systems should be installed.
  • Musical instruments’ sound should be controlled to desirable limits.
  • Dense tree cover is useful in noise pollution prevention.
  • Explosives should not be used in forest, mountainous and mining areas.