Difference between Noise and Sound
We can broadly categorize sounds into two kinds- the ones that are pleasant to the ear and we love listening to them and second is the one we do NOT love or want! In the first kind, there are so many types of sound that sound so sweet that we cannot have enough of them. A baby’s laughter, music, the pitter patter sound of the rains striking against the ground, the rustling of dry leaves with each other, the sound of flowing water, the song of the nightingale and other song birds and so many more. They are like a treat to the ear!
And then we have the ones which are a pain to the ear and every other kind of organ of the human body. Wait, can we even call them as ‘sound’? They are just harsh noises that get on the nerves. These noises are so unwanted and unpleasant to the ear that they lead to noise pollution. The loud blowing of horns, extremely loud noises coming from loudspeakers, the sounds of machines, trains and automobiles and other vehicles, the noise during the take off of planes or helicopters and all these are what we call noise.
Noise might sound a small and insignificant issue. But if it would have been that small, would it have made its place to this list? Moreover, would it have been a matter of concern all across the world? No. Noise can lead to numerous negative effects both on the environment and on human health and even the wildlife as well.
What Creates Noise Pollution?
A lot of factors lead to noise pollution.
Industrialization is one of the major reasons that the noise pollution is increasing at such an alarming rate. With huge industries and factories coming up each day, the noise too is increasing. These industries use huge machineries that create loud sounds when they run. Apart from that, there are different other parts of a plant or factory that create noise, like the compressors, the generators, the exhaust fans and grinding mills etc. All in all, industrialization is a major source of noise pollution.
Social events everywhere are also reasons why we are exposed to such unwanted noise. Whether it is a disc or a pub or some ceremonies held here and there, loudspeakers at the top volume have become a must for every event. It is good to celebrate every occasion, but causing pains to somebody else is just not acceptable. Music in full volume contributes to noise pollution to a great extent.
As I said in the introductory paragraph, automobiles and vehicles, aero planes, helicopters, rocket launchings create the loud noise. Even when the vehicles are running, the blowing of horns continuously also creates noise pollution. This noise becomes extremely irritating for the travelers and others on the road.
Apart from industrialization, it also the process of urbanization that creates noise pollution. Construction of roads, building, dams, bridges, flyovers, tunnels, stations etc. involve the release of a great deal of noise. Also, mining activities are a very tough and long process. Very loud and high noises are created during such activities, which ultimately lead to noise pollution.
Even simple household chores can create noise pollution. We use so many gadgets on a daily basis to make our lives easier and get our works done faster. Different gadgets and appliances like mixer grinder, juicer, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, pressure cookers, air coolers and air conditioners have definitely made our lives a lot easier than it was a few decades ago, but at the same time, the loud noise they create lead to noise pollution.
What Effects can Noise Pollution lead to?
High noise levels can lead to a number of problems. The immediate effects of course lead to problems in hearing properly. In the long term, noise affects both the health and the behavior of humans and other animals. Noise pollution can lead to stress, hypertension, disturbances in sleep and in moments of taking rest and so much more.
Exposure to high sounds for a long time might lead to hearing loss, especially among children and older people whose immunity levels are low. Research has shown that older people who are exposed to high noise have problems in their hearing sensitivity. Our ears are designed to take in sound till a certain level of loudness. People who are constantly exposed to loud noises face damage in their ear drums and also suffer from partial or even total hearing loss.
Noise pollution can also lead to cardio vascular problems. High blood pressures, various cardio vascular diseases and heart problems are commonly seen in people who are more prone to loud noises. Studies have shown that high and loud noise lead to an increase in the pace at which our heart beats as the normal blood flow in us is disrupted due to the excitement.
The wildlife too faces severe problems due to the increasing noise pollution. Animals have better hearing sensitivities than human beings because they have been designed that way. Loud noises disturb animals and affect their behavior and might also leave them with the loss of hearing sensitivity. This is how so many species of animals are becoming extinct these days. Loud noises also harm their reproductive systems and cause a serious threat while they are mating.
Noise pollution is more serious than it seems to be. It has a vast range of negative effects on everything in the environment- humans, their health, their minds, pets, wild animals and even plants to some extent. It harms the normal way of living of every form of life around us. There are no such solutions to reduce noise pollution, unlike the other forms of pollution which have proven ways to combat them. So it is our duty to take care that while we are having fun or celebrating or even doing household chores, we should take care of the noise level we are creating. Having fun is not bad, but we should not do it at the cost of creating problems for others.