What Are the Effects of Noise Pollution?

As the world is going on around us we are facing huge irritations oriented with sound. Whenever sound limit exceeds our tolerance level we call it noise and for an obvious reason, people living in urban areas are regularly affected by the effects of noise pollution. Noise pollution began during urbanization in the middle of the XIX century – industry was actively developing, and people moved from villages to cities for the sake of earning.

The working class lived in areas near industrial facilities, where there was constant noise from machine tools and emissions into the air. Friedrich Engels in his book “The Situation of the Working Class in England” described the 1940s: many people lived in small rooms and were exposed to noise both during and after work.  

Now all settlements should have a noise map on which the main sources of loud sounds are indicated, as a rule, these are airfields, airports, industrial organizations and highways. According to Mayorova, there are about 300 documents on noise regulation in the Russian legislative base. In the federal town-planning standard, noise is described as an unwanted or harmful sound created as a result of human activity.

What Are the Effects of Noise Pollution?

The increasing demand for industrialization and urbanization is the reason for the display of unwanted voice among the people. Understanding, planning and using strategies to prevent noise pollution is the greatest need of the hour today. The sounds that we make every day like listening to loud music, TV, phone, unnecessary use of mobile, traffic noise, dog barking, etc. are the most disturbing as well as the source of sound generation being an important part of urban life. Doers cause headaches, insomnia, stress etc. These things disrupt the natural cycle of daily life, they are called dangerous pollutants. The effects of noise pollution are as follows:      

What Are the Effects of Noise Pollution on Environment?

Noise discomfort also affects animals and plants. Its sources in the environment are cars, trolleybuses, airplanes, compressors and much more. Acceptable noise levels range from 30-60 dB, however, in reality, indicators often exceed these figures, reaching 100 dB.  

Numerous tests have found that plants that are subject to constant noise exposure dry out. The reason for their death is the leaves emitting too much moisture. This is because noise pollution exceeds the allowable barrier. So, trees in big cities live much less, and bees lose the ability to navigate in space with the sound of a jet engine.

How Noise Pollution Effects Plants?

Noise pollution, as one of the anthropogenic factors of environmental pollution, plays an important role and does its share of damage to both animals and plants. At first glance, it may seem incomprehensible how noise can affect plants. However, this effect is obvious if we consider this issue in more detail.  

The influence of noise from industrial facilities, from noisy streets and highways scares away animals, birds and insects from habitats near noise pollution. Animals and birds are forced to look for new habitats away from noisy objects.

And if the representatives of the fauna can change their habitat, then the plants have a harder time – they are forced to experience noise pollution because they cannot move …  

It should be noted that the plants use the services of insects, birds and animals for pollination and resettlement. Noise pollution, scaring away birds and animals, also causes serious damage to plants.  

To test this claim, a group of US environmentalists decided to conduct an experiment in northwestern New Mexico, where gas is produced. In this area, gas compressors operate 24 hours a day, creating a strong noise background. Chemical pollution in this area is not observed, but noise pollution is even stronger than urban. Thus, the researchers were given the opportunity to study the effect of noise pollution on plants in their pure form.  

Scientists have placed in a noisy zone artificial flowers of Ipomopsis, each flower of which contained a sweetened liquid that mimics nectar. Researchers were extremely surprised at what they saw. As it turned out, hummingbirds, which are the main pollinators in the area, sought flowers in a noisier area. Scientists attributed this to the fact that these small birds prefer noisy places due to the fact that there are no predators dangerous to pollinating birds due to noise pollution. So, for example, in places of noise pollution, scientists practically did not meet blue shrubbery jay.  

And if noise pollution was beneficial for ipomopsis flowers, then anthropogenic noise turned out to be inappropriate for pine. This is because birds (the same blue shrub jay, for example) advocate the spread of pine to new territories, which pick up seeds that have fallen from cones. In addition to birds, pine seeds are also collected by squirrels, mice, chipmunks and other small animals. However, in the noisy zone of all these animals only mice survived. But there will be little benefit for the pine, since almost everything that the mouse ate will be digested in its stomach and, at the exit, the pine seeds will not be transferred to new territories.  

To test this, scientists counted the number of young pine sprouts in ordinary areas and areas with high noise pollution. In the latter, the number of young shoots of pine turned out to be four times less than in areas clean from noise pollution.  

Thus, scientists have proved that anthropogenic noise still affects plants, albeit not directly, but with the help of pollinators and seed carriers.

How Noise Pollution Effects Wildlife?

British researchers have studied more than 100 works and evaluated how noise from humans and from human activities such as traffic, airplanes, trains, ships, factories and well drilling influence the wildlife, reports The Guardian. They believe that the noise level should be controlled and limited, since it negatively affects most species of animals, and not just the most sensitive ones.  

The study was published in the journal Biology Letters of the Royal Society of Great Britain. It was based on experiments in which animals measured hormone levels and recorded behavioral patterns before exposure to noise and after.  

As a rule, the level of anthropogenic noise is slightly below 4 kHz. It intersects with the frequencies at which animals communicate and prevents them from communicating, looking for food, hunting, and thus can disrupt the entire ecosystem.  

Speaking about climate change, chemical and plastic pollution, destruction of the environment – we must not forget about the negative impact of anthropogenic noise on animals. Researchers emphasize that if, due to noise, insects that engage in pollination will disappear, then plants and animals will also suffer.

How Noise Pollution Effects Marine Life?

“The Silent World” (or ” The World of Silence”) – a documentary film of the famous French underwater explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau – was released in 1956 and has received numerous awards, including the prize ” Oscar”. After 60 years in the TV channel Discovery Channel documentary comes from a completely opposite, even refuting the name – “Stunning ocean” in which the viewer is invited to find out, in the XXI century the anthropogenic factor affects the lives of sea creatures. We are not talking about whaling and even on industrial toxic waste, thrown into the water, but only about the sound.  

The expression “dumb like a fish” is no more than a figure of speech, moreover, outdated. Scientists have long proved that fish can make various sounds, as well as many other marine life, including shrimp. However, the most talkative are cetaceans, which include not only whales, but also dolphins, narwhals, sperm whales, porpoises and many others.  

Sound waves propagate in water about five times faster than in air, due to the higher density of the medium, and hearing something under water at a great distance is much easier than seeing. Therefore, cetaceans rely almost entirely on hearing and voice, as a person on sight. The sounds that are made by underwater mammals, for the melody, melodiousness and repetitive nature of the scientists dubbed the “songs of whales.” However, marine life uses them for practical purposes. This is one of the main ways of orientation in space and navigation, hunting, migration and communication. It depends on how well other individuals hear their “songs”, whether the whale will find food and a partner, whether it can teach the youngsters the basic rules of hunting and survival, whether the cub will lose its parents and whether the distress signal will reach the others.  

Since whales do not have external ears, they perceive sounds with their lower jaw, from which resonance extends to the inner and middle ears. Their sense of smell, on the contrary, is atrophied, and their vision is not well developed, therefore the safety of sound space is a vital thing for the whole ocean. Between themselves, whales can communicate at a distance of hundreds or even thousands of kilometers. But in recent years, according to the International Fund for the Protection of Animals, published in the report “Ocean Noise: Mute” 1, the space for communication between blue whales has been reduced by 90% – and, of course, not without human help.  

Over the past century, human presence in the waters of the oceans has grown so much that even the term “noise pollution of the ocean” appeared. By it is meant the damage caused to aquatic life by noise caused by anthropogenic and technogenic factors. They can be combined into three large groups – ships, mineral exploration and military sonar.  

Passenger liners, supertankers, cruise ships and cargo ships have long shared the water space with dolphins and whales. Their propellers – most often propellers – emit noises during operation in the range from 20 to 300 hertz, which coincides with the range of sounds of the vast majority of whales. And every day the ocean is becoming more deafening for its inhabitants: the noise level of ships doubles every decade over the past 40 years.  

No less destructive for underwater mammals is the human-made marine exploration of the location of minerals – primarily gas and oil. For seismic exploration, air guns, or air generators, are used – they allow you to identify areas that potentially contain oil and gas (before, dynamite was used for these purposes). The cannons are transported for several months in a special tug, and they shoot compressed air into the water every 10 seconds. The pulsating sound arising from these shots reaches 259 decibels and can travel distances exceeding 3,000 kilometers from the source.

Every day, at least 22 seismic ships with such guns on board go into the ocean. However, in the field of underwater oil and gas exploration there are other high-profile, in every sense of the word, technology: hose fuses, gas detonation installations, electrospark seismic sources, multi-beam sonar for seismic acoustic profiling of the seabed, and the level of their impulse noise exceeds 230 dB. The military sonar systems, which are used to accurately determine the location of a target (most often submarines) at a great distance, are not far behind in loudness.

To do this, they emit powerful acoustic impulses at a distance of thousands of meters and take them back reflected from the target. Such high-frequency (over 10 kilohertz) acoustic pulses are not considered one of the most powerful underwater sound signals. The military sonar systems, which are used to accurately determine the location of a target (most often submarines) at a great distance, are not far behind in loudness. To do this, they emit powerful acoustic impulses at a distance of thousands of meters and take them back reflected from the target.

Such high-frequency (over 10 kilohertz) acoustic pulses are not considered one of the most powerful underwater sound signals. The military sonar systems, which are used to accurately determine the location of a target (most often submarines) at a great distance, are not far behind in loudness. To do this, they emit powerful acoustic impulses at a distance of thousands of meters and take them back-reflected from the target. Such high-frequency (over 10 kilohertz) acoustic pulses are not considered one of the most powerful underwater sound signals.

How Noise Pollution Effects Migratory Birds?

Noise pollution is a very big problem of today. New research from Queen’s University, Belfast, has claimed that the impact of noise pollution is affecting the birds badly.  

According to research, the noise pollution caused by humans is affecting birds. Their routines, food arrangements for them, and even finding and mating them (for breeding) are being adversely affected. According to research, its effect can also be seen in the form of reduction in the number of birds.  

Dr. Gareth Arnot, chief scientist of this research team, said, ‘Sound is a better communication medium for birds. Birds can hear much further than they can see. The song of birds in a way tells their jurisdiction. Birds use voice in unison to indicate their jurisdiction or territory. A very strong voice not only tells the jurisdiction of the birds, they also make a sound full of special energy for mating.  

According to research, human noise is having an impact on the number of birds in the coming times. The song of birds is being affected due to noise pollution. This is affecting their activity, their survival conditions and reproduction. In order to protect birds as well as wildlife, efforts are required to control noise pollution.

What Are the Effects of Noise Pollution on Human Health?

The growth of urbanization and the volume of construction, the development of the transport complex leads to an increase in the noise background above the maximum permissible values, which is one of the significant environmental problems of modern megacities. Man has always lived in a world of natural, diverse sounds (the sound of trees, the whistle of the wind, the splashing of waves, etc.), which favorably affect a person.  

However, with the development of technology, new noise sources have appeared that exceed the safe noise threshold for humans. Noise is a random combination of sounds of varying strength and frequency. Noise pollution can be divided into three main groups:  

  • abiotic (wind, water flow, surf noise, showers, forest noise, rustling leaves, etc.);
  • biotic (birdsong, raven croaking, owl cry, woodpecker knocking, grasshopper chirping, etc.);
  • mechanical (rumble of motors, screeching tires, rumble from trams crawling on rails , traffic signals, etc.).  

The adverse nature of environmental noise pollution is explained by the versatility of its physical properties (sound pressure, sound intensity (strength), sound energy density, sound pressure level, frequency, density of discrete components, etc.), as well as the ability to cumulate. Adverse noise sources include:  

  • transport;
  • street advertising;
  • industrial enterprises;
  • construction and repair work with the use of noisy equipment and tools, etc.  

A high level of noise in an urban environment leads to disruption of the processes of energy metabolism, the balance of a number of biochemical processes in the body. Constant “noise attacks” lead to:  

  • lower labor productivity;
  • decrease in human activity;
  • increased fatigue;
  • deterioration in well-being;
  • increase in blood pressure;
  • violation of cardiac activity;
  • hearing impairment;
  • physical and nervous diseases.  

The degree of harmful effects of noise depends on it:  

  • intensity;
  • spectral composition;
  • exposure time;
  • location of a person;
  • the nature of the work performed by a person and his individual characteristics.  

Noise reduction contributes to:  

  • soundproofing structures along transport highways;
  • soundproof building panels;
  • sound-absorbing structures, screens, etc.  

Thus, noise pollution negatively affects the quality of human life and leads to a number of diseases. Noise pollution is an urgent problem of protecting the environment and the health of a person living in a metropolis. To reduce excess noise, preserve acoustically safe areas of the city, provide conditions for rest and human health, it is necessary to develop special measures and introduce noise-reducing technologies.  

Depending on the level and nature of the noise, its duration, as well as on the individual characteristics of a person, noise can have various effects on it.  

According to doctors, constant noise is bad for the work of many vital organs: heart, liver, and digestive organs. But first of all, of course, the rumor suffers. Therefore, among employees of enterprises where long-term exposure to noise is an integral part of the production process, there are statistics on occupational diseases, which include sensorineural hearing loss. First of all, drivers of heavy special equipment risk this ability to hear from birth. And it’s understandable why: for almost the entire shift (and it can last 8, 10, and 12 hours) they work under deafening accompaniment of engines. But, for example, the compressor unit operator has not been in contact with “noisy” equipment for so long, and therefore, he has a lower risk of illness.  

Noise, even when it is small, creates a significant burden on the human nervous system, exerting a psychological effect on it. This is especially common in people engaged in mental activities. Weak noise affects people differently. The reason for this may be: age, state of health, type of work. The impact of noise also depends on the individual attitude towards it. So, the noise made by the person himself does not bother him, while a small extraneous noise can cause a strong annoying effect.  

The lack of necessary silence, especially at night, leads to premature fatigue. Noises of high levels can be good soil for the development of persistent insomnia, neurosis and atherosclerosis.  

Under the influence of noise from 85 – 90 dB, the auditory sensitivity at high frequencies decreases. For a long time, a person complains of malaise. Symptoms – headache, dizziness, nausea, excessive irritability. All this is the result of working in noisy environments.  

The effect of noise on humans has not been the subject of special studies for some time. Now the influence of sound, noise on the functions of the body is studied by a whole branch of science – audiology. It was found that noises of natural origin (the sound of the surf, foliage, rain, the murmur of a stream and others) have a beneficial effect on the human body, soothe it, bring back a healing dream.  

Among the senses, hearing is one of the most important. Thanks to him, we are able to accept to analyze the whole variety of sounds surrounding our environment. Hearing is always awake, to some extent even at night, in a dream. He is constantly irritated because he does not have any protective devices similar, for example, to the eyelids that protect the eyes from light.  

The ear is one of the most complex and delicate organs, and it perceives very weak and very strong sounds.  

Under the influence of loud noise, especially high-frequency, irreversible changes occur in the organ of hearing.  

At high noise levels, auditory sensitivity decreases after 1 – 2 years, at medium – it is detected much later, after 5 – 10 years, that is, hearing loss occurs slowly, the disease develops gradually. Therefore, it is especially important to take appropriate noise protection measures in advance. Nowadays, almost every person exposed to noise at work risks becoming deaf.  

Acoustic irritations gradually, like poison, accumulate in the body, depressing the nervous system more and more. The strength, poise and mobility of the nervous processes change – all the more, the more intense the noise. The reaction to noise is often expressed in increased excitability and irritability, covering the entire sphere of sensory perceptions. People exposed to constant noise often become difficult to communicate with.  

So, noise has a destructive effect on the entire human body. His disastrous work is also facilitated by the fact that we are virtually defenseless against noise. A blindingly bright light makes us instinctively close our eyes. The same instinct of self-preservation saves us from a burn by taking our hand away from fire or from a hot surface. But on the impact of noise, a person does not have a protective reaction.  

What Are the Side Effects of Noise Pollution in Urban Life

Anthropogenic noise increases the noise level above the natural background and negatively affects living organisms; therefore, noise and vibration are objects of environmental pollution. The increased level of noise and vibration remains one of the most acute problems for urban areas. The main sources of noise and vibration in the city are a motor port, construction equipment, industrial enterprises and sites, engineering equipment of buildings, household noises in the territories inside the blocks of residential buildings. Therefore, the problem of combating noise in all its manifestations was and remains relevant.  

Many time people asks what are the effects of noise pollution on people living near main roads? Why this question has become so popular? Because people living near main roads are exposed to high noise level due to the vehicles and other noise producers. According to many researches people who live near the highways and busy streets should use special glasses for windows and doors. Otherwise this huge noise level can be highly injurious to them.

How Noise Pollution Effects in Schools and Students?

Every child comes to school to study. In order for studies to be successful, children must be attentive in the lessons, have a good perception of information, and have good memory and thinking. And for the educational process to be fruitful, silence is needed.  

Our school is very noisy at breaks. Every day, each of us feels the harm of noise exposure. Researchers have long been saying that with daily noise exposure, students begin to have headaches, it’s hard for them to get into work immediately, to understand the meaning of the assignment.  

Loud sounds are very dangerous for humans. If in bright light we can close our eyes, or if there is a danger of burns, we can quickly remove our hand from fire, then a person is not protected from noise exposure. Only young children cover their ears with their hands in abrupt, unpleasant sounds, but an adult almost never does this. Therefore, noise exposure must be fought.  

In order to find out the opinion of students and teachers of our school about the dangers of noise, I asked them several questions:  

  • Does the noise affect the learning of the material?
  • Does the noise disturb the lesson and the break?
  • How do you feel at the end of the school day?
  • How can students reduce noise exposure?  

I interviewed 12 primary school teachers and 290 primary school students.  

The collection of information showed that for most students, noise interferes with rest after school. Many students began to think about how to reduce the impact of noise exposure and suggested: develop booklets on the dangers of noise, where to prescribe rules of conduct at school and distribute to students. Organize children’s changes, taking them calm and intellectual games. We organized drafts and chess tournaments at big breaks, and many students also liked the idea of literary fights, where the children first read books and then told their classmates.  

Interviews with teachers showed that if children make noise in the classroom, this prevents not only teachers, but also children from focusing on tasks.  

From the monitoring results, we can conclude that the noise effect affects the entire educational process as a whole. To confirm my conclusions, I invited students of my class to participate in the experiment. I invited classmates to read the text for 10 minutes in the lesson and during the break, while the doors to the corridor were open. During the experiment, the device of the modular system measured the degree of noise exposure to classmates. With a buzzing lesson, the degree of noise exposure ranged from 45 to 55 dB. At the same time, 12 out of 20 people were able to retell the text accurately, the rest made minor mistakes. Reading at a break – the degree of noise exposure, according to the readings of the device, ranged from 65 to 80 dB. As a result, only 7 people were able to retell accurately, 10 people made mistakes during retelling,  

The results of the study showed that the students of our school experience the greatest degree of noise exposure during breaks, but, unfortunately, students are not protected in the classroom about negative noise exposure. Based on the results of our research work, my classmates and I conducted a master class on the topic “Impact of noise on the health of school children,” where we talked and showed how to protect ourselves from harmful noise exposure and maintain our physical and mental health.  

Based on the results of the work, we can conclude that our school suffers from “noise pollution”, which harms the health of students and reduces academic performance. But we, the students, can only reduce the degree of noise impact during lessons and changes, and this is within our power. It is important that the students themselves recognize the need for silence during the lesson and during breaks. If the saying “Cleanliness is the guarantee of health” was relevant earlier, now another truth is no less urgent: “Silence is the guarantee of health!”

How Railway Noise effects Us?

Rail transport has several advantages over other modes of transport in terms of environmental impact:  

  • high energy efficiency;
  • less need for space;
  • Lighter emissions of harmful substances.  

Recently, however, rail transport has increasingly become the cause of public complaints about increased noise. Not all railways have a sanitary gap zone. And the construction of residential buildings is often carried out at a distance of less than 100 m from the railway tracks. The passage of the train leads to an increase in noise level in some cases up to 80-90 dBA in the adjacent residential area, which causes a large number of residents to complain about increased noise. Technical noise standards in the Russian Federation, limiting the level of noise generated by a train, do not interfere with sanitary standards and do not apply to all types of rolling stock. Domestic rolling stock of railway transport is on average 7-10 dBA more noisy than European models.  

The problem of increased acoustic impact on the population from rail transport is relevant for almost all settlements adjacent to the railways.  

Man has always lived in a world of sounds and noise. For all living organisms, including humans, sound is one of the environmental influences. Hearing is the body’s ability to perceive and distinguish between sound vibrations. The hearing organ performs two tasks: it supplies the body with information and provides self-preservation.  

Effects of noise pollution is a collection of sounds of varying frequency and intensity, randomly changing over time. Increased noise is one of the main causes of complaints from the population, therefore, attention is paid to solving this problem around the world. Of all the harmful environmental factors, noise is the most massive. Under its influence is from 50 to 70% of the population.  

In the modern world of noise sources is a great many. Various types of transport, technological equipment, equipment of residential buildings, sound reproducing equipment, etc. – all these are sources of unwanted sounds that make up noise.  

The main sources of noise in railway transport are moving trains, track machines, and production equipment.  

The railway passes through settlements, this creates no convenience for the living population and causes environmental pollution.  

Railway transport enterprises located in the city limits cause great harm to humans and the environment, since the vibrations created by the movement of trains, mechanical vibrations, not only negatively affect the human condition, but also harm the environment. For example, when following a train through a bridge vibrations are transmitted through its base, river and nearby objects, which leads to slow destruction of buildings and affects river plankton.  

The impact of noise on residents depends not only on the type of train and its speed, but also on the number of pairs of trains, as well as on the distance from the railway line to a residential development exposed to acoustic impact.  

The railway network is expanding every year, and the volume of traffic is increasing. In this regard, there is an increase in the speed of trains, which accordingly causes an increase in noise. Measures that are applied by railway workers are as follows: elimination of wear and surface defects of the wheels; grinding rails laid in transit; increasing the flexibility of the axle box suspension system for trolleys; limiting the speed of trains is the most efficient way.  

By reducing the speed of the train, you can reduce the noise level. Therefore, the speed of the train is limited in speed if the rolling stock is in the city. The dependence of noise and vibration on the speed of movement varies both with the intensity of movement and with the type of rolling stock. During the movement of freight trains, a decrease in speed can lead to a change in the level of damping of the system and, consequently, to the opposite effect and an increase in vibration and noise, therefore freight trains pass at high speeds.  

Undoubtedly noise pollution is a serious issue now that cannot be ignored by any of us. we have to make people aware of the effects of noise pollution and also let them know how to prevent it. Industrialization, urbanization and modernization is a must but not at the cost of our lives. So let there be light and lets help each other to reduce the effects of noise pollution.

Sharing it to help others:

Leave a Comment