Question
Asked 13th Dec, 2014

What are the harmful effects of noise pollution?

A recent article I read titled "What are the harmful effects of Noise Pollution?" by Bhishm Khanna makes some important observations about noise pollution, viz.
  1. It interferes with speech. In the presence of noise we may not able to follow, what the other person is saying.
  2. Noise leads to emotional and behavioral stress. A person may feel disturbed in the presence of loud noise such as produced by heating of drums.
  3. Noise may permanently damage hearing. A sudden loud noise can cause severe damage to the eardrum.
  4. Noise increases the chances of occurrence of diseases such as headache, blood pressure, heart failure, etc.
  5. Noise leads to increased heart beat, constriction of blood vessels and dilation of pupil.
  6. Noise is a problem especially for patients who need rest.
  7. Noise may cause damage to liver, brain and heart.
For some people working in Industry, noise could be a problem.
For some people living in some neighbourhood where people party a lot, like college students, noise could be a problem too.
Some people listen to music with amplifiers and big boom-boxes at a very high volume, and noise could be a problem too.
It is scientifically known that frequent and long use of headphones at a loud volume for a prolonged period of time could affect one's hearing.
This query is to bring an awareness about noise pollution. Comments are welcome.
Muchas Gracias !! - Sundar

Most recent answer

14th Oct, 2018
Mohammad Mehdizadeh
University of Mohaghegh Ardabili
Dear Sundarapandian Vaidyanathan
I think noise induced hearing loss is one of the most harmful effects of noise pollution.
4 Recommendations

Popular Answers (1)

13th Dec, 2014
Behrouz Ahmadi-Nedushan
Yazd University
Effects of Noise Pollution
1. Hearing Problems: Any unwanted sound that our ears have not been built to filter can cause problems within the body. Hearing loss begins at 80- 90 dbA. 140 dbA is painful
2. Health Issues: Excessive noise pollution in working areas such as offices, construction sites, and even in our homes can influence psychological health.
3. Sleeping Disorders: Loud noise can certainly hamper your sleeping pattern and may lead to irritation and uncomfortable situations.
4. Cardiovascular Issues: Blood pressure levels, cardio-vascular disease and stress related heart problems are on the rise. Studies suggest that high intensity noise causes high blood pressure and increases heart beat rate as it disrupts the normal blood flow.
5. Trouble Communicating: High decibel noise can put trouble and may not allow two people to communicate freely. 
6. Effect on Wildlife: Wildlife faces far more problems than humans because noise pollution since they are more dependent on sound. Animals develop a better sense of hearing than us since their survival depends on it. 
15 Recommendations

All Answers (47)

13th Dec, 2014
Marcel M. Lambrechts
Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive
Plants will give the answer.
Cheers
4 Recommendations
Deleted profile
Dear Sundar,
All the potential answers for your question is mentioned in your introduction. Thank you for increasing our awarness
8 Recommendations
13th Dec, 2014
Krishnan Umachandran
NELCAST
Environmental and industrial noise is regulated in the United States under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and the Noise Control Act of 1972. Under these acts, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration set up industrial noise criteria in order to provide limits on the intensity of sound exposure and on the time duration for which that intensity may be allowed.
8 Recommendations
13th Dec, 2014
Costas Drossos
University of Patras
Noise pollution can cause hypertension, high stress levels, tinnitus, hearing loss, sleep disturbances, and other harmful effects. Sound becomes unwanted when it either interferes with normal activities such as sleeping, conversation, or disrupts or diminishes one's quality of life.
11 Recommendations
13th Dec, 2014
Dejenie Alemayehu Lakew
Hampton University
Noise is an invisible physical force in wave form that disrupts the electromagnetic system of our cognition and its proper and harmonious functioning that will cause all the effects you have listed and chaotic features in on our body system. In any dynamical system, an introduction of a new object will definitely change the proper behavior of the system either for good or bad and noise (particularly powerful and unpalatable by our brain) is one such object to our body system.
13 Recommendations
13th Dec, 2014
Hanno Krieger
You have already told the most important consequences of noise. And don´t forget, these effects are reinforced, if the ears of the heares get older and they are loosing the high frequencies, which are responsible for 3D localisation of the sounding source.
8 Recommendations
13th Dec, 2014
Behrouz Ahmadi-Nedushan
Yazd University
Sound that is unwanted or disrupts one’s quality of life is called as noise. When there is lot of noise in the environment, it is termed as noise pollution.
World Health Organization stated that “Noise must be recognized as a major threat to human well-being
According to the UPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) there are direct links between noise and health and noise pollution adversely affects the lives of millions of people.
  1. Noise pollution can damage physiological and psychological health.
  2. High blood pressure, stress related illness, sleep disruption, hearing loss, and productivity loss are the problems related to noise pollution.
  3. It can also cause memory loss, severe depression, and panic attacks.
7 Recommendations
13th Dec, 2014
Ljubomir Jacić
Technical College Požarevac
Some more resources follow! "Noise pollution is an unwanted or disturbing sound which can interfere with normal activities for humans and wildlife, such as sleeping, conversation, reproduction, communication, or disrupt or diminish one's quality of life. Noise pollution can come from many sources..." Human, Plant and Trees, Animals, Marine Life are disrupted!
7 Recommendations
13th Dec, 2014
Marcel M. Lambrechts
Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive
What is the link between sound and spirituality (e.g. Chakras) influencing health status?
5 Recommendations
Deleted profile
Loud human voices are equal to noise and are irritating!
8 Recommendations
13th Dec, 2014
Behrouz Ahmadi-Nedushan
Yazd University
Effects of Noise Pollution
1. Hearing Problems: Any unwanted sound that our ears have not been built to filter can cause problems within the body. Hearing loss begins at 80- 90 dbA. 140 dbA is painful
2. Health Issues: Excessive noise pollution in working areas such as offices, construction sites, and even in our homes can influence psychological health.
3. Sleeping Disorders: Loud noise can certainly hamper your sleeping pattern and may lead to irritation and uncomfortable situations.
4. Cardiovascular Issues: Blood pressure levels, cardio-vascular disease and stress related heart problems are on the rise. Studies suggest that high intensity noise causes high blood pressure and increases heart beat rate as it disrupts the normal blood flow.
5. Trouble Communicating: High decibel noise can put trouble and may not allow two people to communicate freely. 
6. Effect on Wildlife: Wildlife faces far more problems than humans because noise pollution since they are more dependent on sound. Animals develop a better sense of hearing than us since their survival depends on it. 
15 Recommendations
14th Dec, 2014
Sarwan Kumar Dubey
ICAR-Indian Institute of Soil and Water Conservation (Earlier known as CSWCRTI)
Hi All, Hearing loss and hypertension are major problems being faced by people.
8 Recommendations
14th Dec, 2014
Abedallah M Rababah
United Arab Emirates University
Noise pollution is very dangerous for human and nature; it causes hearing and other health diseases and disorders.
10 Recommendations
14th Dec, 2014
Mohammad Hamad Al-khresheh
Northern Border University
Noise pollution as defined by Wikipedia is the disturbing noise that may harm the activity or balance of human or animal life. It has serious effects such as damaging the ability to hear, damaging to liver, brain and heart, leading to emotional and behavioural stress.
8 Recommendations
14th Dec, 2014
Ljubomir Jacić
Technical College Požarevac
Youa are right dear @Kamal, loud human voices are so irritating! Look at the following blog Does talking in loud voice is also considered a sound pollution ?
10 Recommendations
14th Dec, 2014
Sardar Asad Ali Biabani
Umm Al-Qura University
@ Dear Sundar.......My friends at RG have already added valuable inputs. And rightly said Prof. Kamal I agree loud human voices are so irritable.... And many don't realize it when they speak louder.
The WHO has documented seven categories of adverse health effects of noise pollution on humans. Kindly refer to the link.
10 Recommendations
14th Dec, 2014
Marcel M. Lambrechts
Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive
RG is a silent way of communication, I presume
9 Recommendations
14th Dec, 2014
Aggelos Tsaligopoulos
University of the Aegean
Greetings,
this is a very interesting topic.
From a physical point of view, sound and noise are the same and the subjective transition from sound to noise is a matter of psychoacoustics. The well-known rhetorical question ‘’If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?’’ has been a subject for debate. If a tree falls, it does make a sound, but not a noise, because nature does not require a spectator in order to function. Our presence is undeniably important in order for this transition to take place. However, all the health issues aforementioned are unfortunately true. Nevertheless, it is the quality and timing of the sound that causes causes all these effects..          
11 Recommendations
14th Dec, 2014
András Bozsik
University of Debrecen
Dear All,
Many put out the negative health effects of noise pollution on people mainly on children and adolescents. The noise has been built into their deformed culture and tries to push out classical music.
So called electronic music instruments waste energy and with the help of microphones incompetent people occupy the place of talented ones. We are approaching towards a musical kitsch empire.
Residence areas with their noise are spreading and damage the remained fauna. I have heard even plants can be harmed by noise.
8 Recommendations
One big source of noise today is religious service. It seems they believe God hás to listen to their music without leaveling Heaven. I called it onsert syndrme.
6 Recommendations
14th Dec, 2014
Sardar Asad Ali Biabani
Umm Al-Qura University
@ Dear Marcel, for sure RG is a silent but STRONG & effective way of communication. 
8 Recommendations
Deleted profile
Dear Sundar
From this point of view I think we should firstly refer to occupational noise.
Noise can not only cause hearing impairment (at long-term exposures of over 85 decibels (dB), known as an exposure action value), but it also acts as a causal factor for stress and raises systolic blood pressure.
Additionally, it can be a causal factor in work accidents, both by masking hazards and warning signals, and by impeding concentration.
Noise also acts synergistically with other hazards to increase the risk of harm to workers. In particular, noise and dangerous substances (e.g. some solvents) that have some tendencies towards oto-toxicity may give rise to rapid ear damage.
A-weighted measurements are commonly used to determine noise levels that can cause harm to the human ear, and special exposure meters are available that integrate noise over a period of time to give an Leq value (equivalent sound pressure level), defined by standards.
8 Recommendations
15th Dec, 2014
Marcel M. Lambrechts
Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive
By the way, what is the exact definition of (noise) pollution?
Some people are stimulated by loud music, others try to avoid it.... Some organisms will not be sensitive to what people might call loud sounds because of the characteristics of their perception system?
Is (noise) pollution individual-specific?
5 Recommendations
15th Dec, 2014
Ljubomir Jacić
Technical College Požarevac
Here is one of the definition: "Noise pollution or noise disturbance is the disturbing or excessive noise that may harm the activity or balance of human or animal life."
6 Recommendations
15th Dec, 2014
Marcel M. Lambrechts
Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive
What about the role of aesthetics in the definition of pollution, independent from medical-based health status? For instance, people avoid loud music because they don't like it, and perhaps also disturbing the sensitivity of other senses without having health consequences, e.g. complicating focused homework during exams periods? 
5 Recommendations
15th Dec, 2014
Behrouz Ahmadi-Nedushan
Yazd University
Counting Decibels thrsholds (dBA)
  • Pain Threshold 125
  • Hearing Loss Risk 100
  • Very Annoying 90
  • Intrusive 70
  • Comfortable 60
  • Very Quiet 30
  • Just Audible 20
Counting Decibels  (dBA)
  • Boom Car 140
  • Jet Takeoff 140
  • Shotgun 130
  • Rock Concert 125
  • Thunder Clap 120
  • Leaf Blower 100
  • Motorcycle 95
  • Lawn Mower 90
  • Traffic Noise 80
  • Conversation 50
  • Whisper 30
  • Breathing 10
8 Recommendations
15th Dec, 2014
Hanno Krieger
Thanks dear Behrouz,
the dbA are the main problem, which converts sound to noise. Noise equals garbage, or at least is felt as waste and can be very disturbing. Serious consequences of to many dB are loss of frequence ranges of heard tones. More than 85 db are harmful.
8 Recommendations
16th Dec, 2014
Krishnan Umachandran
NELCAST
Direct Effects of Noise
The most direct and obvious effect of noise is to our ears. Loud sounds can cause physical damage to the ear, resulting in:
Hearing loss
  • Noise damages the ear
  • Temporary hearing loss
  • High-frequency hearing loss
  • Degrees of hearing loss
  • Mild hearing loss
  • MP3 demonstration of hearing loss
  • Age-related hearing loss and noise
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Painfully over-sensitive hearing (hyperacusis)
These conditions can be either temporary or permanent.
8 Recommendations
Deleted profile
Maybe it would be useful to know that, as the sound level increases above the criterion level, the allowed exposure time must be decreased. The allowed maximum exposure time is calculated by using an exchange rate, also called a "dose-trading relation" or "trading ratio." The exchange rate is the amount by which the permitted sound level may increase if the exposure time is halved.
There are two types of exchange rates currently in use: 3 dB(A) exchange rate or the "3 dB rule," and 5 dB(A) exchange rate or the "5 dB rule." These two exchange rates, with criterion levels of 85 dB(A) and 90 dB(A), give two different sets of exposure guidelines
5 Recommendations
17th Dec, 2014
Krishnan Umachandran
NELCAST
In an Media organization, such as a the one in audio processing has to comply with the permits to use of the standard audio processing methods of normalization of levels, general volume adjustments, equalization to make the sound clearer, noise reduction to reduce extraneous sounds such as telephone line noise, and fading in and out of the start and end of sound bite.
17th Dec, 2014
Krishnan Umachandran
NELCAST
A measure of the sound-absorbing ability of a surface. It is defined as the fraction of incident sound energy absorbed or otherwise not reflected by a surface. Unless otherwise specified, a diffuse sound field is assumed. The values at the sound-absorption coefficient usually range from about 0.01 for marble slate to almost 1.0 for long absorbing wedges often used in anechoic rooms.
(1) The sound process includes the generation, transmission, and effects of sound waves, both audible and inaudible.
(2) The physical qualities of a room or other enclosure (such as size, shape, amount of noise) that determine the audibility and perception of speech and music within the room.
Damage to the hearing mechanism caused by a sudden burst of intense noise, or by a blast resulting in a traumatic event. A numerically calculated measure of the intelligibility of transmitted or processed speech. It takes into account the limitations of the transmission path and the background noise. The articulation index can range in magnitude between 0 and 1.0 . If the AI is less than 0.1, speech intelligibility is generally low. If it is above 0.6, speech intelligibility is generally high.
4 Recommendations
17th Dec, 2014
Sundarapandian Vaidyanathan
Vel Tech - Technical University
Our friend - Prof. Krishnan wrote: "Damage to the hearing mechanism caused by a sudden burst of intense noise, or by a blast resulting in a traumatic event"
Professor - I have seen some youngsters using "slide-in-the-ear" type headphones for their cellphones / tablet and playing music very very loud! This may affect their hearing..  - Sundar
4 Recommendations
17th Dec, 2014
Ljubomir Jacić
Technical College Požarevac
Dear @Sundar, you are right about possible affecting of their hearing. This article brings something new, Smart Phones Meet Hearing Aids! "A mobile phone contains all of the components needed to build a hearing aid. It contains a microphone, a loudspeaker and, in between, all the necessary processing power. Already, it is possible for anyone who owns an internet-connected mobile phone to download simple hearing aid applications (or ‘apps’) at a cost of only a few Euros. Is this a passing fad or the beginning of a hearing aid revolution?"
5 Recommendations
12th Jan, 2015
Krishnan Umachandran
NELCAST
Silence zones suffer high decibel noise pollution
Noise pollution near silence zones, comprising some of the prominent buildings including Allahabad high court, districtcCourt (Kutchery), Allahabad University, two prominent district hospitals among others, has been found to be 12 to 15% above the permissible limit of maximum 50 decibels during daytime. Even in night hours the noise is over 10% the permissible limit of 40 Decibel (db) in these areas.
3 Recommendations
20th Mar, 2016
Hudu Garba Illo
Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital
Effects of noise  on health are better classified into auditory and non auditory,rather than just mentioning them.
28th May, 2018
Arvind Singh
Banaras Hindu University
These days noise has become a permanent part of of our lives because of the development of industry and technology. The word noise is defined as "wrong sound, in the the wrong place at wrong time". Therefore noise is unpleasant sound that causes irritation or annoyance. Noise pollution may be defined as undesirable and unwanted sound usually of high intensity dumped into the atmosphere, which influences the human beings in one or several ways. Noise pollution is the most dangerous pollution of man's environment which is harmful to body and mind.
Noise pollution has several ill effects on human beings. The most direct harmful effect of excessive noise in physical damage to the ear and the temporary or permanent hearing loss often called as 'temporary threshold shift' (TTS). Person suffering from the condition is unable to detect weak sounds. However, hearing ability is usually recovered within a month of exposure. Permanent loss usually called 'noise-induced permanent threshold shift' (NIPT's) represents a loss of hearing ability from which there is no recovery. The sound of 100 dB leads to permanent loss of hearing. Noise of about 90 dB causes auditory fatigue.
Noise pollution leads to various disorders in human beings. It causes mental disorders such as insomnia, anxiety, depression and behavioural and emotional stress. Lack of concentration and mental fatigue are significant health effects of noise. It has been observed that the performance of school children is poor in comprehension tasks when schools are situated in busy areas of a city or suffer from noise pollution. There has been report of low weight children born to mothers living near airports.
Other disorders caused by noise pollution include hypertension, increase in sweating, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, giddiness and fatigue. Furthermore, undesirable changes in respiration, circulation of blood in skin, dilation of pupil of eyes, constriction of blood vessels, changes in muscle tension, fright and increase in heart beat and alterations in gastrointestinal motility and glandular reactions are the other physiological disorders caused by noise pollution in human beings. Noise pollution may even cause damage to brain and liver.
Noise pollution also increases the risk of peptic ulcer in human beings. Continuous exposure to noise may lead to abortion in pregnant women. Noise also causes an increase in cholesterol level, which block the coronary arteries thus making the person prone to heart attack and strokes. At higher impulsive noise pollution the pulse rate and blood pressure changes, stored glucose from the liver is released into the blood stream and there is an increased production of hormone adrenaline. The brain begins to exhibit distorted electroencephalographic brain wave records.
Noise of around 125dB causes visual disturbance, and reduces the depth and quality of sleep thus affecting the overall physical and mental health.
As noise interferes with normal auditory communication it may mask auditory warning signals and hence increases the rate of accidents especially in industries. It can also lead to lowered worker efficiency and productivity and higher accident rates on the job.
2 Recommendations
28th May, 2018
Wisdom Okere
Bells University of Technology
Following
2 Recommendations
3rd Jun, 2018
Ljubomir Jacić
Technical College Požarevac
The Adverse Effects of Noise Pollution on Human and Animal Health
"The impact of noise on human health is a matter of great concern. The reason being the adverse consequences that high noise levels have on human health. Noise pollution can affect us in several ways, some of which are listed below ...
On the whole, noise being unwanted sound, is naturally a disturbance to the ears. The impact of noise on mental and physiological health on humans and animals alike, cannot be overlooked. Hence, taking the aforementioned precautions to curtail noise pollution would definitely show reduction in this new urban menace (noise)..."
6 Recommendations
3rd Jun, 2018
Gopikrishna Nidigonda
Chaitanya Engineering College
Effects are hypertension, high stress levels, tinnitus, hearing loss, and sleep disturbances
1 Recommendation
3rd Jun, 2018
Borden Mushonga
University of Namibia
Interferes with communication easily leading to misunderstanding
Results in hearing problems
Increases anxiety and stress levels
may result in permanent damage to vocal chords if prolonged
1 Recommendation
10th Oct, 2018
Ahsan Siddiqui
Ministry of Health Saudi Arabia
Noise pollution affects both health and behavior. Unwanted sound (noise) can damage physiological health. Noise pollution can cause hypertension, high stress levels, tinnitus, hearing loss, sleep disturbances, and other harmful effects. Exposure to high noise levels causes hearing loss. This loss of hearing may be temporary, permanent, or a combination of both. Temporary hearing loss, also called Temporary Threshold Shift (TTS), results from exposure to short-term loud noises. Hearing loss and rapid increase in heart rate are some of the ill-effects of noise pollution on animals. High intensity sound induces fear, which can force species to abandon their habitat. Major causes / sources of noise pollution are:
(i) Industrial Sources:
(ii) Transport Vehicles:
(iii) Household:
(iv) Public Address System:
(v) Agricultural Machines:
(vi) Defence Equipment:
(vii) Miscellaneous Sources:
Unwanted sound (noise) can damage physiological health. Noise pollution can cause hypertension, high stress levels, tinnitus, hearing loss, sleep disturbances, and other harmful effects.
1 Recommendation
10th Oct, 2018
Zainab A Makawi
University of Baghdad
Noise is an annoying sound that affects health, especially for those with migraines and headaches.
Greetings
2 Recommendations

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