Acoustic Noise is a type of sound that under specific circumstances is classified as an unwanted sound (or noise pollution). The same sound produced under different circumstances, may become a desired type of sound and will no longer be classified as noise pollution.
Noise is defined by three primary properties – harmonic set of frequencies, repetition and loudness. The noise sound causes atmospheric pressure to change its properties with produced frequency and force and is further perceived by humans.
Too much noise is toxic
When an unwanted sound classified as noise produced outside of comfortable human perception range, whether due to its intensity, content or duration, it becomes toxic.
Noise intoxication can affect us causing harmful adverse health effects
- Physical stress resulting in hearing damage
- Emotional stress resulting in mental disturbance
Dangers of noise and side effects of exposure to noise pollution
High intensity noise may result in partial or total hearing loss by ruptured eardrum. Prolonged exposure to moderate noise levels may result in condition of chronic ringing in ears classified as tinnitus
Chronic exposure to an unwanted sound may affect nervous system leading to the following adverse health manifestations
- Physiological instability
- Increased incidence of coronary artery disease due to increased cortisol levels and altered lipid profile
- Excessive expression of adrenaline and steroid hormones such as cortisol, resulting in lowered immune function and predisposition to infections and cancers
- Increased heart rate due to adrenaline secretion and cardiovascular diseases due to capillary stress and circulating cholesterol increase
- Constriction of blood vessels and vision impairment
- Digestive spasms
- Significantly increased cholesterol levels in blood when the exposure is chronic
Avoiding and regulating exposure to acoustic noise toxicity
An impact of too much noise exposure via acoustic transmission can be minimized with the following
- By increasing the distance from the source of the excessuve noise
- By using hearing protection devices such as ear muffs and or ear plugs
- By masking an existing low intensity noise with white noise, known as “noise masking”
- By eliminating the source of the noise
Noise regulation laws consist of statues and guidelines applied to acoustic sound propagation as established by all levels of government, such as municipal, provincial, state or national. The US Noise Pollution and Abatement Act of 1972 sets the emission standards for most types of noises, such as
- Motor vehicles
- Heating, air conditioning and ventilation equipment
- Major appliances that produce acoustic noise
The Noise Control Act is a regulation based on a wide array of collected data that examined extent of acoustic noise on human health.
When too much noise exposure starts to affect your health it may be too late. Take preventative measures.