Noise pollution is very harmful to health. Exposure to excessive sounds such as noisy machinery, loud music, vehicular noise, can adversely affect a person’s hearing. Not only this, the people exposed to noise pollution can be victims of many serious diseases. Loss of concentration, irritability, depression, impotence, even life-threatening diseases like cancer are among the several ill-effects of noise pollution.
Noise Pollution – The bane of urban life
Noise pollution causes serious problems in big cities. It equally affects rich and poor, educated, illiterate, men and women. Due to increasing number of vehicles, loudspeakers and noise of the machines in industrial institutions, people are becoming vulnerable to mental stress and infection of the respiratory tract. Due to rising vehicular emissions, prevalence of DJ in weddings, high- intensity loudspeakers, the people of all age-groups have become vulnerable to many diseases.
Noise pollution can impact various aspects of an individual’s life. Fast sound wave directly influences the heart rate. This decreases the heart rate which multiplies the chances of heart attack. Noise pollution also leads to increase in the blood pressure and other diseases.
Diseases caused by Noise Pollution – Medical view
According to experts, exposing ears to prolonged & high intensity of noise more than 85 db can lead to permanent hearing loss. Cochlea is the main sense organ of hearing; it has very delicate hair cells which detect sound frequencies. These cells are severely damaged if exposed to prolonged duration of sound intensity of around 85- 125 dB. The main sources of such ear-splitting noise are machinery, vehicles, loud music, or the extreme instances of noise produced by aeroplane, missile or gun firing.
If the high intensity exposure is not controlled, the patient may experience hearing loss, continuous ringing or buzzing sensation called tinnitus, headache, irritation, lack of sleep, depression & difficulty in carrying out day-to-day activities. There are a number of hearing aids available these days to help people cope with their hearing deficiencies but in the cases of profound hearing loss surgical intervention are required such as a cochlear implant surgery.
Noise Pollution – Cause of Diseases in Children
The intensity of the sound over the standard limit increases the likelihood of rupture of eardrums in children. The impact of noise pollution mainly occurs on hearing ability. It decreases hearing capacity, sometimes even resulting in hearing loss. According to a survey, 6 percent of children in urban areas are afflicted with hearing disabilities. According to a recent study, the ear disease ‘Otitis Media’, characterized by a persistent discharge from the middle ear leading to hearing loss, is found in 10 percent of children aged under 10 years in urban areas of the country.
Although Otitis Media can occur in people of all age group, it is most commonly found among children. It is estimated that one in every four children experience at least one middle ear infection by the time they are 10 years old. Studies in developed countries show that by they are three years old, 80% of children generally experience at least one episode of AOM, and 40% have six or more recurrences by the age of seven years.
Early onset of hearing loss has a debilitating effect on the linguistic and communication skills of the child as well as on his academic performance, education and employment opportunities.
Noise Pollution – Cause of Diseases in Construction Workers
According to a study, construction workers are vulnerable to hearing deficiencies caused by noise, in fact, it is one of the major occupational diseases of construction industry. Continuous noise impacts the workers’ fitness for work in more ways than one. They are vulnerable to hearing difficulty, tinnitus, ear discharge and posture disturbances, and auditory disorders, particularly NIHL or noise induced hearing loss.
Construction sites are prone to hazards posed by noisy machinery, such as mechanical saws, compressors, grinding machines, drills, and other cutting tools. As a result, construction workers are vulnerable to sleep disturbance, irritability, stress, tension, distraction, and heart disease. All these factors have adverse influence on their quality of life, work performance, power of communication, general health and well-being, behavioural and mental health aspects.
Thus, noise pollution has an adverse impact on the environment as well as life. We need to generate sufficient awareness about the threat of noise pollution and also take remedial measures to mitigate its ill-effects.