“Sudden very loud sounds can cause death at times. Whales are known to die because of excess sounds generated by machines inside the ocean.”
Along with technological development, level of noise has increased in the world. Ringer tones of mobiles, sounds emanating from radio, television, computer printers, loud speakers, music systems, traffic, sounds of construction work, machines, electronic devices, human conversations , all sum up to make a noise which amounts to cacophony.
In urban city life is exposed to too much noise. As cities are developing, the level of noise pollution is also increasing. Imagine, travelling in a public transport. Now the driver switches on the radio to full volume, some passengers are talking loudly, some yelling on phones. The combined noise produced would be irritating and tiring for many passengers. Similarly in, a party participants enjoy the loud music, but it becomes annoying and disturbing to other people in the neighborhood .
Noise generates more noise. With too much of noise around, every person has to talk in a louder voice to communicate , which aggravates the din.
People living in crowded places in towns are always exposed to too much noise. This generates mental stress and unexplained anxiety. They may not realize, but the moment they reach a quiet place they feel relaxed. Constant exposure to noise is responsible for increased irritability seen mostly in urban dwellers. They suffer from stress induced disorders like hypertension, heart attacks, e.t.c.
Factory workers, who work with noisy machines all time, develop sleep disorders, sensation of sounds in ear and vertigo. Their hearing ability is also reduced. Hearing is said to be blunted because of constant excess exposure to loud noise.
Noise pollution and its deleterious effects were recognized in ancient times too. It is said that in ancient Rome, chariots were not supposed to move in the night to avoid the noise generated. The tradition of observing silence on some religious occasions would have originated to minimize the adverse effects of noise.
An increase in 10 decibel of sound is said to produce noise pollution by 100 times. The distance from a source of noise and duration of exposure determine the deleterious effects of noise on an individual. About 45 decibels may cause disturbed sleep, whereas 80 to 85 decibels sound can impair hearing . The sounds in between, cause varying degrees of anxiety, memory loss and other problems.
Sudden very loud sounds can cause death at times. Whales are known to die because of excess sounds generated by machines inside the ocean. Many species of birds and animals are said to be on the decline in numbers because they are getting killed by environmental pollution including noise. Thus it is damaging for human health and also the eco- system
Noise pollution can add on the ear damage caused by other factors like chronic ear infections, exposure to draughts of cold or hot air, e.t.c.
Noise is an avoidable pollution. In order to minimize the adverse effects of noise pollution, every city administration has set norms to keep noise to the minimum. Loud-speakers are banned after some time in the night, which may vary from city to city . Constant efforts are being made by scientists to improve technology such that various machines, make less noise. Sensitization of individuals can play a bigger role in this regard. People should understand the importance of minimum noise. Playing loud music in public places should be avoided. While playing a radio or television, a person should be careful to keep the volume not very loud. Parties and marriages can be enjoyed better without a loud speaker. One should avoid talking very loudly particularly when in a public place. In mobile phones; the rings can be kept in low volume unless absolutely necessary.
Factory workers working with noise making machines everyday should be advised to use ear plugs to avoid damage to the ears.
Combined efforts of all individuals can help to combat this menace of urban life. When all understand the ill effects of noise and try to avoid it, more than 50% of noise pollution will be removed.
Dr. Rachna Pande is Specialist in internal medicine. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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