Noise pollution is the effect in the air created by unwanted, excessive sound. It can have a bad effect on wildlife, human health and the quality of our environment. Many industries generate noise pollution. It is also created by loudspeakers put up for music or talk shows in an event. Severe noise pollution is also created by railway, airplane traffic, highway and such other infrastructure.
How To Measure And Perceive Loudness Of Noise?
Sound waves are nothing but vibrations created in the air that are carried from air molecules from the source of noise to the ear. Sound is described in terms of amplitude and pitch. Loudness of noise can also be measured in logarithmic units that are known as decibels. A normal human ear can detect sounds ranging from 0 decibel to 140 decibel. Sounds between 120 DB to 140 DB cause pain. The SPL in a library is 35 DB, while that in a train in 85 db.
Impact of Noise Pollution
Noise pollution has an adverse effect on many people on a daily basis. The most common effect of noise pollution is Noise Induced Hearing Loss. Whenever a person is exposed to loud noise, it can cause high blood pressure, sleep disturbances, stress and heart disease. These problems are not subjective to any particular age group. Children who live next to high noise generating areas like airports, railways, etc have shown bigger signs of stress.
Noise pollution also impacts wildlife. Caterpillars’ hearts beat faster on hearing loud noise and bluebirds have fewer chicks when exposed to constant loud noise. Animals use sound to navigate, hunt for their prey, attract mates and to avoid predators. When they hear loud noise from man-made sources, they find it tough to accomplish their works and this in turn affects their survival.
Excessive noise also affects those on the ocean. Sonar devices, oil drills, ships and seismic tests done on the ocean disturb marine life and make it chaotic. Whales and dolphins are negatively impacted by loud noise. The marine mammals use echolocation to communicate, find mates and to feed. But excess noise disturbs their ability to echolocate.
Naval sonar devices create the largest noise underwater. This is a process that works by sending pulses of sound down into the depths of the ocean. It bounces off and returns like an echo on the ship, indicating a location for object. This sound can be as high as 235 decibels and it travels hundreds of miles under water, interfering with marine animal’s ability to use echolocation.
These are some of the major problems caused by noise pollution. The government should take steps to control noise pollution on land as well as in the ocean. We need to conserve and protect our wildlife, nature, humans and even marine life. While humans can be educated about the dangers of loud noise, it is tough to do so when it comes to animals.