Healthy Environments for Child Care and Preschool Settings 2009
What is Noise Pollution?
• • Noise pollution is unpleasant noise created by people or machines that can be annoying, distracting, intrusive, and/or physically painful.i Noise pollution can come from sources such as “…road traffic, jet planes, garbage trucks, construction equipment, manufacturing processes, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and boom boxes.”ii • Noise or sound is measured in decibels (dB). An increase of about 10 dB is approximately double the increase in loudness.iii • A person’s hearing can be damaged if exposed to noise levels over 75 dB over a prolonged period of time. The World Health Organization recommends that the sound level indoors should be less than 30 dB. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognize the harmful health effects of noise pollution.iv,v According to the CDC, noise pollution is “an increasing public health problem” that can lead to a variety of adverse health effects.vi Problems related to noise include hearing loss, stress, high blood pressure, interference with speech, headaches, disturbance of rest and sleep, productivity and mental-health effects, and a general reduction in one’s quality of life.ii
What are the health concerns related to Noise Pollution?
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Noise Pollution and Children in the Child Care Setting
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Studies show that children in classrooms who are exposed to noise pollution experience reading delays.vii Children exposed to noise pollution learn to tune out not only noise but also the teacher’s voice, which can harm their reading and language skills.viii Children have more difficulty understanding spoken language and distinguishing the sounds of speech when learning in a noisy environment.viii Children from noisier areas have higher resting blood pressure and higher stress levels.iv Children develop better concentration skills in a quiet environment.ix...
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