Sound is a vibration that propagates as an acoustic wave, through a transmission medium such as an elastic, liquid, gas, or solid with an approximate range of 20 to 20000 hertz(20kHz). Sound plays an important role in our daily life. It helps us to communicate with one another and express ourselves. Sound is carried in all directions with the help of a medium, and it is produced by vibrating the objects. Sound cannot travel in a vacuum.
We hear sound through our ears. The eardrums of our ears sense the vibrations produced by a vibrating object and send them to the brain as the stimulus. This process is called a hearing.
So, this was all about the basic introduction of what a sound is, from where it gets produced and how do we hear it.
What is Noise?
In simple language, we can say that any unwanted and undesirable sound is noise. It can be anything for example; loud music which we don’t want to hear or blowing of horn in the traffic signals.
Now, the next related thing is what we called as Noise Pollution.
So, we can define Noise Pollution as the presence of unwanted, undesirable and unnecessary sounds in our environment.
Our environment is such that it has become difficult to escape the noise. Even electrical appliances at home have a constant hum or beeping sound.
Types of Noise Pollution
Before taking a closer look at the various causes of noise pollution, let us first understand two primary types of noise.
All the noises which are generated due to human activities are referred as Man-Made Noises. For example, construction work, noise from automobiles, household appliances, etc. This type of noise can range between 30dB to 140dB which is very much harmful.
All the noises that are generated due to environmental activities. For example, the sound produced by animals, sound of thunderstorms, cyclones, hurricanes, etc. Environmental noise can often go up to 140dB which is again a very harmful number for human mankind.
Sources of Noise Pollution
There are many sources of Noise Pollution, some of them are:
- Bursting of crackers on various social events or religious functions.
- Loud sound of Radio, Speaker System, Television is also a major source of Noise Pollution.
- Construction Activities such as constructing buildings or any real estate architecture.
- Industries are also major sources of Noise Pollution because of the machines they use produces noise in an excessive amount which is unbearable.
- Automobiles also generate a lot of noise pollution in the surrounding by sound of their engine and by blowing horn excessively.
- Aviation field is another major source of Noise Pollution as taking-off and landing of a plane makes undesirable and unbearable noise up to 130dB.
- Home appliances such as Mixer Grinder, Washing Machines, Pressure Cooker etc. also produce unwanted sound i.e. Noise.
- Animal sounds such as howling or barking of a dog is also a source of Noise Pollution.
- Sound of lightning and thunderstorm, Hurricanes, cyclones also causes noise pollution.
Effects of Noise Pollution
- Hearing Problems: Loud noise can cause great harm to our ears i.e. reduces the hearing capability of our ears.
- Physical Issues: Noise Pollution can cause headaches, high blood pressure, heart attacks.
- Psychological Issues: It can cause hypertension, depression, anxiety, fatigue, stress in humans as well as animals.
- Sleeping Disorders: Excessive noise disturbs our sleeping patterns which may lead to extreme health issues.
- Loss of Concentration: Noise distracts the person’s mind and a person finds it difficult to concentrate or focus on work or study.
- Effect on Wildlife: Wild animals also get disturbed heavily by the noises which humans make, they fear out, or faint and in some cases die.
Measures/Prevention to control Noise Pollution
- We should avoid playing speakers, radios, and television loudly at home.
- Bursting of crackers should be avoided.
- The horns of vehicles should not be blown unnecessarily and vehicles should be serviced from time to time to prevent the noisy engine.
- Trees should be planted around the buildings and along the roads to reduce noise from roads.
- Sources or noise such as industries, airports, etc., and the residential areas should be separated.
- Fine for exceeding certain noise limits.
- Keep checking the surrounding noise levels and limit the sounds that you produce.
Hearing Impairment means that a person cannot hear properly and has damaged hearing ability. Hearing impairments are classified in terms of the severity and type of hearing impairment:
Mild hearing impairments: People at this level cannot hear soft noises and may have trouble following conversations in noisy surroundings.
Moderate hearing impairments: People at this level cannot hear soft or moderately loud noises and may have trouble hearing unless they use a hearing aid.
Severe hearing impairments: People at this level are unable to hear most noise and may rely on lip-reading and/or sign language, even with the use of a hearing aid.
Peoples with very poor hearing are called deaf. Deafness is the total hearing impairment. Deaf peoples often use sign languages to communicate with others. Hearing aid is a small sound-amplifying device worn on the ear by a partially deaf person to hear properly.