In our constantly developing and modernizing society, it is more important than ever to be aware of the different types of pollution and their effects on both humans and the environment. Noise pollution is one such form of pollution that many people may not be familiar with. This type of pollution is created by any sound that is deemed unwanted or excessive by a community.
Unfortunately, noise pollution can have a number of harmful effects on both communities and individuals. In order to better understand noise pollution and its effects, let’s take a closer look at the definition, sources, and impacts of this growing environmental concern.
What exactly is noise pollution?
Noise pollution can be defined as any sound that breaks the natural balance and causes excessive amounts of discomfort in a certain location.
Noise pollution is when there’s either an excessive amount of noise or unpleasant sound that causes a temporary disruption in the natural balance.
It can be anything from traffic, lawn equipment such as leaf blowers and weed eaters; construction sites with jackhammers going off all day long (even at 3 am). Sometimes it might just seem like your neighbour has too many kids because they’re constantly playing soccer outside their house.
Effects of noise pollution to communities
- Trouble communicating with each other.
It can be difficult for people to communicate when there is a lot of noise. This could lead them into misunderstandings, and it might make the other person hard or impossible to understand because they are having trouble hearing you properly with all this high decibel static in their eardrums. Constant sharp noises such as sirens really hurt our ears too.
- Animals become disoriented and become more aggressive.
It is not just humans who are struggling to survive in this noisy world. Animals have also been negatively impacted by human-created sounds, from pets that react more aggressively or become disoriented when they hear noise at home every day all the way up through animals suffering hearing loss which can lead them into danger as well as others being inefficient hunters because of how hard it becomes for them to find prey.
- Social activities become more difficult to conduct.
There are a lot of social activities that cannot function effectively when they are surrounded by noise. These include conducting classes in schools, or hosting religious services, and even celebrating momentous occasions. With the unwanted sound present in their environment, people are at risk of being distracted and become unable to appreciate the activities they are doing.
How noise pollution can be mitigated
While noise is a part of everyday life especially in today’s urban communities, it can be mitigated. Apart from the government implementing policies to regulate noise or impose sanctions on those who generate noise beyond prescribed limits, there are also technologies that help absorb or reflect sound.
Sound barriers for instance, are designed to reflect or absorb soundwaves at a given area in order to reduce the impact of noise in the community. Depending on how it is designed, sound barriers can either block the sound from entering a specific area, or capture attributes such as echo and reverb to prevent the soundwaves from travelling far and affect communities that are supposed to be enjoying a peaceful environment.
Sound barriers are usually installed in construction sites, highway and railway walls, or even in perimeter fences to ensure that the impact of noise is reduced to tolerable levels and won’t adversely affect the lives of the communities near them.