Majorly, it can be deduced that noise pollution causes various mental, physical, and physiological disorders in human beings such that it is potentially damaging to human health. In this sense, it is fundamental to take all necessary precautions to control the threat of noise pollution for vibrant human health in this age of industry and technology.
Some of the far-reaching consequences of noise pollution include:
- Distortion of Hearing Ability in Humans (Physical Effect)
Distortion of hearing ability is the physical effect of noise pollution. Hearing ability can be distorted due to repetitive exposure to loud noise. In most cases, it results in temporary or permanent alteration of hearing threshold based on the level and duration of exposure.
People’s ears have sensory cells for hearing that get damaged when repeatedly exposed to sounds of high intensity. Besides, the delicate sensory membranes in the ear drum can shut permanently as a result of abrupt loud noise like an explosion. In other words, the direct and adverse effect is temporary hearing loss which is frequently termed as ‘temporary threshold shift’ (TTS).
People suffering from this hearing disorder are incapable of determining faint sounds. Nonetheless, the conditions usually go away after a few weeks. Permanent loss, termed as ‘noise-induced permanent threshold shift’ (NIPT’s), is also a familiar occurrence witnessed when a person is exposed to sounds of 100 dB or beyond. Noise of around 90 dB causes auditory weakness.
- Interference with Communication and Speech
Noise pollution interferes with communication and speech. As a result, it lessens the capacity to work effectively because communication difficulties can lead to irritation, exhaustion, lack of self-confidence, and concentration problems. Noise is directly interrelated with a decline in concentration and increase in aggression.
- Mental Disorders and Lack of Concentration
Extremely loud and persistent noise gives rise to mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and emotional stress. Mental fatigue, behavioral stress, and loss of concentration are substantial health effects of noise pollution. Research pertinent to the effects of noise pollution has discovered that children attending schools located in busy areas of a city or places afflicted by noise pollution perform poorly in comprehension subjects. Such scenarios are entirely due to the noise pollution effects on mental awareness and concentration.
- Decreased Motivation and Human Error
There are notable cases where noise pollution lowers motivation and increases human error. Predominantly, these problems are caused by damaging impacts on memory, difficulty in paying attention, and lessened problem-solving skills.
- Miscellaneous Health Disorders
Hypertension, dizziness, nausea, headaches, fatigue, over-excitement, increase in sweating, vomiting are some of the miscellaneous health disorders caused by noise pollution. Moreover, constriction of blood vessels, dilation of the eyes pupil, changes to blood circulation, changes in muscle tension, fright, uncomfortable changes in respiration, an increase in heartbeat, alterations in gastrointestinal motility and glandular reactions are other physiological disorders that arise because of noise pollution. In extreme cases, noise pollution can even damage the brain and the liver.
- Adverse Health Disorders
Noise pollution can increase the risks of developing peptic ulcers. Repeated exposure to noise may also lead to miscarriage in pregnant women. On the same note, there have been reports of mothers living near airports giving birth to low weight children. Noise may also make people prone to heart attack and strokes since it causes an increase in cholesterol levels which blocks the coronary arteries.
Blood pressure and pulse rate also change at higher impulsive noise pollution. This can increase production of hormone adrenalin and release stored glucose from the liver into the blood stream. Also, distorted electroencephalographic brain waves are exhibited in brains exposed to sudden and impulsive noise.
- Visual Disturbances
Noise is linked to the impairment of night vision. Noise levels of about 125 dB also cause visual impairment and lessen the quality and depth of sleep hence affecting the overall physiological and mental wellness.
- Industrial Accidents
Noise as motioned earlier interferes with concentration and communication. On this basis, it may mask auditory organs from receiving important signals hence increasing the rate of industrial accidents. Loud and unbearable noise can also lower work productivity and efficiency thereby compounding the chances of accidents on the job.
- Effect on Wildlife and Marine Animals
Unbearable and deafening noise affects not only humans but also animals. Animals as well experience the same detrimental effects realized by humans. Among the wildlife, the effects increase the risk of death by altering the delicate balance in prey or predator avoidance and detection.
Also, noise can interfere with the natural ways which wildlife use sound in communicating, particularly regarding navigation and reproduction. Impulsive noise can lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss among the animals in the wild and also reduces their ability to utilize effectively their habitat due to avoidance of noisy areas. Many marine animals use sound waves and hearing to communicate, find food, and for defense. Therefore, loud noise can alter their survival techniques.
Noise also makes animal species to communicate more loudly, an aspect referred to as Lombard vocal. Marine animals, for instance, have been adversely affected by the loud sounds of military sonar leading to the death of whales, fish, and crabs. On the same note, wild animals like zebras become less loyal to their partners when exposed to traffic noise which can adversely affect their genetic evolution.