Health Consequences of Noise Pollution

The best we can do is rely on ourselves to reduce the impact of harmful sounds in our own homes and offices.

Perhaps one of the most overlooked environmental factors that has proven to hold many great consequences regarding people’s health and wellbeing is noise pollution. Most people tend to ignore this issue and focus their minds on other environmental problems such as air pollution, global warming etc. While these issues are quite expressed, it is important to realize that there are certain other problems in our surroundings that are violating our health and proposing serious damage to our wellbeing. Nowadays it has become practically impossible to escape the harmful effects of noise pollution as urbanization and industry are an ever-present factor in today’s society. Nevertheless, it is important to get a proper insight about the issue and find appropriate ways to cope with the ever-growing problem.

What Is Noise Pollution?

Putting it quite simply, noise pollution can be defined as “harmful or annoying level of noise.” While this definition is true, it is important to learn how to differentiate between certain types of noise, as not every high-pitched tone that is not pleasing to the ear can be defined as noise pollution. Noise pollution applies to artificial noise and should not be confused with certain nature sounds which are typical for our surroundings. Briefly, any outdoor noise that causes disturbance and harms the balance of human and animal life can be perceived as noise pollution.

What Causes Noise Pollution?

While there are many factors that influence the forming of noise pollution, some of the main causes are certainly industrialization, transportation and poor urban planning. Construction activities or any other machine-performed work greatly contribute in creating high levels of outdoor noise. Not only this, but street performances and social events including music of higher volume also cause noise pollution. Certain things such as electronic gadgets and appliances that people use on everyday bases actually cause a significant amount of noise and are often overlooked or perceived as “less harmful.”

image 7What Are the Health Consequences?

When it comes to noise pollution, perhaps the most expressed issue is the impairment of hearing after being exposed to certain levels of noise for a specific period of time. Unfortunately, certain studies claim that this is merely one of many health consequences caused by noise pollution, as being exposed to high levels of noise could create many unwanted issues regarding our wellbeing, not only physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. Sleep disturbances, high levels of stress, migraines and hypertension are only a part of the problem. Noise pollution has been linked to higher blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, resulting in approximately 3% of coronary heart disease deaths. It is important to note that these disturbances do not only harm the human population but animals as well, in an even larger scale, as wildlife is known to mostly rely on their senses, making this issue quite expressed in the animal kingdom.

How to Minimize the Effects?

Although it has become quite difficult to escape the harmful effects of noise in today’s society and practically impossible to block the disturbances caused by certain factors, there are still ways to reduce the impact of noise. One of the most effective solutions is investing in barriers and soundproofing features that can block certain amounts of noise from the outside. Sound-blocking headphones, ear plugs and similar things can also contribute to reducing noise on some level, but never in entirety. There are also options of installing double-panelled widows, putting up heavy rugs and curtains so the noise levels could be muffled.

While there are still no effective solutions when it comes to controlling the major effects of noise pollution, the best we can do is rely on ourselves to reduce the impact of harmful sounds in our own homes and offices. Until certain laws start regulating this large-scale issue, the best solution is to try and reduce the damaging effects it has on our health and well being.

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Diana Smith, the author of this article, is a full-time mom of two beautiful girls. Diana is interested in topics related to home improvement and DIY.

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