WHAT IS NOISE POLLUTION?
Noise pollution is defined as intrusive noise that disrupts, or distracts from the regular rhythm of life. The problem of noise pollution is not limited to big cities. Noise pollution is an increasingly widespread phenomena. It can also be found in suburban areas, and even in individual properties and offices. Noise pollution should not be ignored because it has significant negative impact on health and productivity.
CAUSES OF NOISE POLLUTION
Of course, there is no single source of noise pollution, so reducing noise pollution can be a challenge, requiring separate methods for each source. The issue of noise pollution has been researched in depth, and undoubtedly has a negative impact on human health. The following adverse health effects occur most frequently:
It’s been well documented that noise pollution from airplanes has a significant negative impact on the health and wellbeing of those who live close to airports. This can include heart disease, high blood pressure and chronic stress.
One of the complaints of those who live in big cities or on busy streets is the disruption from the sounds of traffic. Interestingly, even low levels of traffic noise can be damaging to people, and traffic noise is one of the most commonly experienced contributors to noise pollution.
Most think of factories or construction sites when considering noise pollution in the workplace. While these examples definitely apply, regular offices are not immune.
With more people packed into busy office spaces, office noise is a common complaint. Co-workers who talk, drum their fingers on the desk, or make other distracting noises can decrease the productivity of those around them without realizing it.
Most don’t perceive their homes as noisy. However, consider for a moment traffic noise and noisy neighbors. The overall noise level detracts from concentration, and is a cause of stress, and affects our privacy and family life.
NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF NOISE POLLUTION
Long-term exposure to noise can cause a variety of health effects including annoyance, sleep disturbance, negative effects on the cardiovascular and metabolic system, as well as cognitive impairment in children. Looking at the current data, we estimate that environmental noise contributes to 48,000 new cases of ischaemic heart disease a year as well as 12,000 premature deaths. In addition, we estimate that 22 million people suffer chronic high annoyance and 6.5 million people suffer chronic high sleep disturbance. As a result of aircraft noise we estimate that 12,500 school children suffer reading impairment in school.
– Eulalia Peris, EEA Environmental noise expert, “Noise pollution is a major problem, both for human health and the environment” article from European Environment Agency
Following are just a few scientific findings. Some additional results must be emphasized, which impact individual lives:
One study examined children exposed to airport noise and found that their reading ability and long-term memory was impaired. Those working in noisy office environments have also been found to be less cognitively motivated, and to have higher stress levels.
Noise pollution can trigger the body’s stress response. One of its major health effects is chronic stress and the high levels of stress hormones that go with it. As a result, noise pollution has also been linked to health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. It’s also been linked with musculoskeletal problems. Noise pollution can also impact sleep quality by preventing sleep and disrupting sleep cycles. Most significant, because chronic stress can lower immunity to all disease, noise pollution is a general threat to health and wellness.