Noise pollution (or environmental noise) is displeasing human, animal or machine-created sound that disrupts the activity or balance of human or animal life. The word noise comes from the Latin word nauseas, meaning seasickness. The source of most outdoor noise worldwide is mainly construction and transportation systems, including motor vehicle noise, aircraft noise and rail noise. Poor urban planning may give rise to noise pollution, since side-by-side industrial and residential buildings can result in noise pollution in the residential area. Indoor and outdoor noise pollution sources include car alarms, emergency service sirens, mechanical equipment, fireworks, compressed air horns, groundskeeping equipment, barking dogs, appliances, lighting hum, audio entertainment systems, electric megaphones, and loud people. Contents [hide] * 1 Effects * 1.1 Human health * 1.2 Environment * 2 Impact in the United Kingdom * 3 Mitigation and control of noise * 4 Legal status * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 External links
Main article: Noise health effects
Noise health effects are both health and behavioral in nature. The unwanted sound is called noise. This unwanted sound can damage physiological and psychological health. Noise pollution can cause annoyance and aggression, hypertension, high stress levels, tinnitus, hearing loss, sleep disturbances, and other harmful effects. Furthermore, stress and hypertension are the leading causes to health problems, whereas tinnitus can lead to forgetfulness, severe depression and at times panic attacks. Chronic exposure to noise may cause noise-induced hearing loss. Older males exposed to significant occupational noise demonstrate significantly reduced hearing sensitivity than their non-exposed peers, though differences in hearing sensitivity decrease with time and the two groups are indistinguishable by age 79. A comparison of Maaban tribesmen, who were insignificantly exposed to transportation or industrial noise, to a typical U.S. population showed that chronic exposure to moderately high levels of environmental noise contributes to hearing loss. High noise levels can contribute to cardiovascular effects and exposure to moderately high levels during a single eight hour period causes a statistical rise in blood pressure of five to ten points and an increase in stress and vasoconstriction leading to the increased blood pressure noted above as well as to increased incidence of coronary artery disease. Noise pollution is also a cause of annoyance. A 2005 study by Spanish researchers found that in urban areas households are willing to pay approximately four Euros per decibel per year for noise reduction. Environment
Noise can have a detrimental effect on animals by causing stress, increasing risk of death by changing the delicate balance in predator/prey detection and avoidance, and by interfering with their use of sounds in communication especially in relation to reproduction and in navigation. Acoustic overexposure can lead to temporary or permanent loss of hearing. An impact of noise on animal life is the reduction of usable habitat that noisy areas may cause, which in the case of endangered species may be part of the path to extinction. Noise pollution has caused the death of certain species of whales that beached themselves after being exposed to the loud sound of military sonar. Noise also makes species communicate louder, which is called Lombard vocal response. Scientists and researchers have conducted experiments that show whales' song length is longer when submarine-detectors are on. If creatures do not "speak" loud enough, their voice will be masked by anthropogenic sounds. These unheard voices might be warnings, finding of prey, or preparations of net-bubbling. When one species begins speaking louder,...
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