Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Effects of Noise

 

Effects of Noise:

 

Noise is generally harmful and a serious health hazard. It has far-reaching consequences and has many physical, physiological as well as psychological ef­fects on human beings.

 

(i) Physical Effects:

 

The physical manifestation of noise pollution is the effect on hearing ability. Repeated exposure to noise may result in temporary or permanent shifting of the hearing threshold of a person depending upon the level and duration of exposure. The immediate and acute effect of noise pollution is impairment of hearing (i.e. total deafness.)

Human ears have sensory cells for hearing. If these cells are subjected to re­peated sounds of high intensity before they have an opportunity to recover fully, they can become permanently damaged leading to impairment of hearing. Be­sides the sensory cells, the delicate tympanic membrane or the ear drum can also be permanently damaged by a sudden loud noise such as an explosion.

 

(ii) Physiological Effects:

 

The physiological manifestations of noise pollution are several as mentioned be­low:

 

(a) Headache by dilating blood vessels of the brain.

(b) Increase in the rate of heart-beat.

(c) Narrowing of arteries.

(d) Fluctuations in the arterial blood pressure by increasing the level of choles­terol in the blood.

(e) Decrease in heart output.

(f) Pain in the heart.

(g) Digestive spasms through anxiety and dilation of the pupil of the eye, thereby causing eye-strain.

(h) Impairment of night vision.

(i) Decrease in the rate of colour perception.

(j) Lowering of concentration and affect on memory,

(k) Muscular strain and nervous breakdown.

(l) Psychological Effect

 

The psychological manifestations of noise pollution are:

 

(a) Depression and fatigue which considerably reduces the efficiency of a person.

(b) Insomnia as a result of lack of undisturbed and refreshing sleep

(c) Straining of senses and annoyance as a result of slow but persistent noise from motorcycles, alarm clocks, call bells, telephone rings etc.

(d) Affecting of psychomotor performance of a person by a sudden loud sound

(e) Emotional disturbance

 

For a talkative person, the most important effect of noise pollution would in­variably be that noise interferes with our conservation. So, noise is annoying and the annoyance depends on many factors not merely the intensity of the sound but also repetition, because even a sound of small intensity (e.g. dripping tap or clicking of clock) may become annoying, simply by repetition.

 

Noise Pollution Level and its Harmful Effects:

 

Level (in db)

Effects

up to 23

No disturbance

30—60

Stress, tension, psychological (illness, heart attact) effects especially at upper range.

60—90

Damage to health, psychological and vegetative (disturbance in stomach-gall function, pains in muscles, high blood pressure, disturbance in sleep­ing)

60—120

Damages to health and ontological (ear diseases) ef­fects

Above 120

Painful effects in long run.