More due of exposure to sudden noise

More pollution is continuously increasing due to development of industry, heavy machinery, technology and modern modes of transportation. Sometimes children also cause loud noise. Noise is measured in units of decibel (dB), the word Bell is in the memory of Alexander Graham Bell. One decibel is the smallest amplitude which can be heard by the human ear. Animals can distinguish some sounds better than human beings.

The approximate sound and noise level values of some operational activities are given below: Whispering 20 decibels Quiet library 40 decibels Normal conversation 60 decibels Vehicular noise 70-80 decibels Printing press 80 decibels Motor car horn 100-120 decibels Train passing a station 110 decibels Jet aeroplanes 140 decibels The recommended maximum noise level is 85 decibels. A noise at 100-120 dB is uncomfortable and at 130-140 dB is painful to ears. Exposure to noise above 160 decibels results in rupture of tympanic membrane and permanent deafness. This may happen due of exposure to sudden noise of an explosive nature. In India activities like marriages, ceremonies, festivals, religious and political activities are not held without the use of loud-speakers and Address systems which cause noise pollution. The use of loud­speakers at the religious places daily in the early morning and evening hours is also a great source of noise pollution. The activities like Jagrans, Ramlilas and marriage ceremonies which are carried out at night time cause noise pollution. The worst affected from these loud­speakers are the students preparing for their examinations, sick and old persons.

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Effects of Noise:

(i) Loud noise may cause direct injury to the auditory organs resulting in deafness. (ii) Prolonged exposure to any noise of 80 dB or more is likely to be harmful and may produce fatigue, headache, tinnitus (whistling, ringing or buzzing sound in the ears) vertigo and deafness. (iii) It leads of annoyance and irritability. (iv) It interferes with speech. (v) It leads to inability to concentrate. (vi) Sleep is disturbed.

(vii) Habit of loud speaking develops. (viii) It leads to certain accidents in industries. (ix) Certain physiological changes such as increase in blood pressure, heart rate, sweat, nausea, giddiness and visual disturbances may occur.

“Silence” (60 decibels) had to be repeated louder

“Silence” is normally around 25 decibels. Pain is inflicted (depending on the quality and pitch of the sound) at about 120 decibels. Severe pain and temporary loss of hearing are inflicted after only a few minutes at 140 decibels or a few seconds at 150 or more decibels. Daily, in cities, one hears horn blasts, squealing tyres, screeching brakes, mumbling trucks and trains, blaring television sets, the roar of automobile engines and jet planes, the throaty growl of motorcycles and blaring loudspeakers. Even at night, cities and suburbs are rarely quiet. An indefinable low moaning sound prevails, often punctuated with the ear-piercing shriek of a siren.

Noise has indeed become omnipresent. As more and more crowd into the sprawling urban areas, noise pollution threatens to escalate rapidly. But why should it be virtually impossible, especially in highly advanced technological societies, to get completely away from the racket of civilization? Robert Koch, Nobel laureate predicted: “A day will come when man will have to fight merciless noise as the worst enemy of health.” Workers in a very noisy factory are found to have lost an average of 50 decibels of their hearing range by working 15 years at a 100 decibel noise level.

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This means that their normal threshold of hearing (20—25 decibels) had been changed to about 70 decibels. Normal conversation (60 decibels) had to be repeated louder at (70-75 decibels) for the workers to hear. Ninety decibels is a health hazard for an 8?hour-day environment. Louder work sites, such as the environment of a jet plane at the passenger tamp (115 decibels) would be dangerous to health after only 15 minutes. Beyond any of these limits lies permanent hearing impairment. The subtle physiological and psychological side-effects of noise are drawing special attention now. Prolonged high intensity noises have been found to result in loss of hearing and even total deafness. Ulcers, severe headaches, stomach upset, aggravation of allergies and asthma and heart conditions, insomnia and emotional breakdown are, in certain cases, attributable to too much noise! At the noxious effects of noise or at an unexpected or unwanted noise, the pupils dilate, the skin pales, mucous membranes drain, there are intestinal spasms, and the adrenals explode excretions.

The biological organism, in a word, is disturbed. The resulting internal wreckage caused by a screaming siren includes gastric ulcers, thymus gland atrophy, and over-stimulation of the adrenals. A sudden doorslam has been shown to raise man’s blood pressure four times, higher than the reaction from a shot of morphine. The quantity of blood pumped by the heart may double under the stimulus of even the sound of a baby crying.

The increased oxygen consumption that comes with rising blood pressure results in exhaustion and nervousness. Experiments have shown that noise, which interferes with sleep, lessens the body’s resistance to disease and physical stress. Even those conducting the experiments were affected. One doctor said he could not hear his watch tick for three hours after one experiment.

Another found that his subjects were unable to hear a whisper just 3 feet away. The cumulative effect of noise may cause increasing irritability, anxiety, or a sudden emotional outburst. The latter reaction is typified by the man who comes home after a tense, harrowing day in a noisy office.

The home, he finds, is also noisy, with the television turned up loud and the children running around, alternately laughing and crying. The harried man impulsively reacts in wrath at the accumulated racket. The evening meal is subsequently very unpleasant. Prolonged subjection to an unpleasant noise, or even a pleasant sound, which is too loud or which comes at the end of a harrowing day, can lead to mental disorganization. Experts also blame noise, in part, for the increased consumption of alcohol, drugs, tranquilizers and sleeping pills in advanced nations.

These people are turning to these escape commodities, in part, as an attempt to drown out or “turn off the noises they don’t want to hear. Noise has steadily increased even inside the home. Background noise reaching into the home from the outside environment has risen from 20 to 45 decibels in the past forty years.

Add to this the introduction of new appliances and labour- saving machinery used in the modem home. Well-furnished modern home may have as many as 10 gadgets that make noise. The noisiest place in the home is the kitchen.

Today’s automated kitchen often reaches a decibel level of 80 – the same as the noise level made by heavy traffic. With a fan, grinder and juicer going all at once, the decibel level may go to 100. No wonder the average housewife often feels “on edge,” jittery, fatigued and frustrated. Young people may disbelieve it, but highly amplified rock ‘n’ roll music is damaging to their hearing. The young who either play or listen to rock ‘n’ roll music at high intensity levels may pay a price in terms of eventual reduction of hearing.


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