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Noise Pollution

Xavier. SJ


Topics of Discussion

History of noise pollution Its causes Why and how it is harmful If it is possible to stop it


To discuss causes/effects of noise pollution


What is it???

Noise pollution is any unwanted sound which annoys, intrudes or disturbs others.
Noisy dogs or any other animals Parties

Intruder alarms (house and car)

Industrial and commercial local factories businesses such as noisy bars construction sites Transport noises - road noise - rail noise - aircraft noise

. in airports

Aircrafts harm people's health.
Noise harms children's education The aviation industry is heavily subsidised Solutions in noise pollution have not improved the situation as yet.

Table 13.1 Sound Levels and Human Response Common Sounds Air raid siren Jet takeoff (200 feet) Thunderclap Auto horn (3 feet) Discotheque Pile driver Garbage truck Heavy truck (50 feet) City traffic Noise Level (dBA) 140 120 Effect on Humans Painfully loud Maximum vocal effort

110 100 90 Very annoying Hearing damage after 8 hours

Alarm clock (2 feet) Hair dryer

Noisy restaurant Freeway traffic Mans voice (3 feet) Air conditioning unit (20 feet) Light auto traffic (100 feet) Living room Bedroom Quiet office Library Soft whisper (15 feet) Broadcasting studio




Telephone use difficult

60 50 40

Intrusive Quiet


Very quiet

20 10 Just audible Hearing begins

* Point at which noise begins to harm hearing

Ambient Air Quality Standards in respect of Noise

Area Code

Category of Area/Zone

Limits in dB(A) Leq * Day Time NightTime 70 55 45 40

(A) (B) (C) (D)

Industrial area Commercial area Residential area Silence Zone

75 65 55 50

Note 1. Day time shall mean from 6.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. 2. Night time shall mean from 10.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m. 3. Silence zone is defined as an area comprising not less than 100 metres around hospitals, educational institutions and courts. The silence zones are zones which are declared as such by the competent authority.

OSHA Regulations

Permitted Duration (h)

14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 80 85 90 95

New Installations Existing Installations





Effective Noise Level (dBA)

An age-old dilemma

Problems with noise have existed since the invention of the wheel! Even in the first century B.C., Julius Caesar banned chariots from Rome to cut down the clatter of wheels against the stone streets. The EPA once declared noise the nations most widespread nuisance.


As a response to noise, annoyance is turned inward and turns into tension. Noise annoyance is a major contributor to diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Noise can also cause or aggravate headaches, digestive problems, ulcers, and asthma.

Interesting Fact

The Acoustical Society of Americas reports indicate that the sounds of daily life have doubled in volume every ten years since 1950.

Danger in Tokyo

In modern Tokyo, traffic noise has reached crisis level.

Delicate hearing mechanisms in our ears

suffer direct damage when subjected to a constant overload of sound. This results in a particular king of hearing loss called noise deafness.

Noise Deafness

Can be caused by a single exposure to very loud sound or by repeated and continuous exposure to sounds at lower decibel levels. Similar damage can come from exposure to low levels of sound over long periods of time. Eventually, the hair cells, fibers, and supporting structures of the inner ear become exhausted and die of overwork.

Some statistics

From the beep of the alarm clock to the steady stream of sound from electric shavers, hair dryers, radio, stereo, television, kitchen appliances, and human voices the total effect of ordinary noise around the house can easily add up to sixteen hours at 75 decibels or more.

Some everyday appliances

A vacuum

A hair dryer

A chart of sound levels

This can help determine which levels are appropriate

Does sound have an effect on heart disease?

Noise studies have turned up some alarming connections between blood pressure and noisy environments. The results of laboratory experiments suggest that the answer is nohowever, increases in blood pressure were moderate, but disappeared quickly. On the other hand, noise researchers reported that men exposed to pulses of 80- and 90- decibels sound over several weeks underwent cholesterol increases. But it is too soon to say that environment and heart disease have a direct connection.

Sound Intruding on Rest

Noise falling on the ears of sick people can make illness worse or interfere with recovery. Sounds too soft to wake you disrupt sleep in 2 ways:
1. They lift you out of the deep sleep that gives your body an opportunity to replenish energy reserves. 2. Noise interrupts the phases of lighter sleep, during which dream occurs. (People deprived of dreams over long periods may even begin to hallucinate or develop nightmarish memories.)

Why does noise make us less willing to show goodwill toward our fellow humans?

First, the speech interference problem. -2 people standing 6 inches apart can barely hear each other over background noise of 71 decibels (vacuums).
Second, many people find loud noise so irritating that their only thought is to get away from it. Third, irritating noise puts you in such a bad mood that you lose all interest in the problems of other people and of strangers in particular.

Noise and Learning

Those who learn to speak against a background of noise are likely to confuse many of the sounds of ordinary speech. Confusion with spoken language carries over to written words. Noisy disruptions interferes with communication and scatters attention. When thoughts are disrupted and scattered too often, thinkers become discouraged.

Noise and Work

The people work in these central corridors (London, Rome, and New York) of 80- to 90- decibel noise are often among the key decision makers of business and national government. What happens when noise invades their thoughts, meetings, and activities?
-interfere with communication -distract attention and interfere with performance -reduces efficiency at work

Battle Against Noise

Stopping sound at the sound is the most effective method of dampening noise, however it is also the most difficult.

Stopping it at the Source

Improving the engineering in many noisy objects has cut noise by nearly 30 decibels (i.e. snowmobiles). Government has set up regulations to manufacturers such as GM and Mack Truck to reduce vibration in heavy gears, axles, and transmissions. Reducing sound at the source by an average of 10 decibels cuts loudness in half.

Shielding your ears

Without doubt, plugging up your ears is the cheapest and easiest method of noise control.

If you have to be around loud noise, protecting yourself with ear plugs is better than doing nothing. Excessive exposure to loud noise and/or exposure to a quick loud noise could cause serious damage to your ears.

Sound-dampening strategies in your home

Dampen noise with carpeting and rubber padding on floors and stairs Block noise by closing doors and windows Install rubber mounts in exhaust fans and under appliances, such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and clothes washers and dryers Buy quiet machines and appliances Place foam pads under typewriters, blenders, mixers, and other small appliances

The National Level

Environment (Protection) (Second Amendment) Rules, 1999.


The manufacture, sale or use of firecrackers generating noise level exceeding 125 dB or 145 dB at 4 meters distance from the point of bursting shall be prohibited.

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