Monday, April 6, 2015

Turn It Down!!! Noise Pollution / Earth Month 2015

Too loud, too much, too dissonant: That's noise pollution. It has also been called 'Environmental Pollution.'

When noise is too loud, it's not just annoying, it can have other effects:

  • Wild animals are frightened and leave their natural habitats
  • Noise affects how wild animals hunt for food: they will stay away from areas with too much noise and may hide rather than eat when they should
  • Domesticated animals are often frightened by fireworks and thunderstorms, as well as machines used around the house
  • For humans, it can cause sleep disturbance, heart disease due to stress, and hearing loss.

Major sources of noise pollution include
  • Machines
  • Transportation systems
  • Cars, trucks, buses
  • Motorcycles
  • Airplanes
  • Trains
  • Construction
  • Loud stereos in homes and cars
  • Noise from concerts-the music and special effects, and the screaming of fans

Here are how different sources stack up, decibel-wise:

                                   Noise source
Refrigerator hum
Normal talking
Sound level in a theater
Dial tone on a phone
Hair blow dryer
Traffic, when you’re in your car
Sporting event/enclosed arena
Train whistle
If you have sustained (long lasting) exposure, you may   have a hearing loss at 90 to 95 decibels
Snowmobile or motorcycle
Personal stereo such as an Ipod at max loud
Chain Saw
Loud rock concert, inside the stadium
Noise becomes painful at 125 decibels
The loudest noise you can tolerate is 140 decibels with ear protection
Siren from ambulance
Jet airplane engine
Shotgun blast

Are you surprised that a personal stereo gives off as many decibels as a motorcycle, and almost as much as a chain saw?

Construction uses a lot of noisy machines and vehicles, whether building a house or a commercial building, or a road. Construction workers are required to wear ear protection.

Permissible levels according to OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, are:

Hours                  Decibels
8                              90
6                              92
4                              95

Here is what happens when you expose your ears to too much noise:

The hairs in the inner ear become damaged and can't process sounds. This is what healthy and damaged ear hairs look like:

Do you have your headphones in more than 4 hours a day, and do you crank it up loud? You are likely damaging your hearing. Damage to your inner ear is permanent, you cannot restore it. The hearing loss might be so gradual you aren't aware of it at first. If your MP3 player is so loud that others can hear it even though you have your earbuds snugly in place...

It's too loud!! Turn it down!!

Regulations to lessen noise that damages or infringes on our lives, is on a local basis; there is no federal law that 'regulates' noise.

Take note of the noise you hear every day, inside and outside. Do you think you could call it Noise Pollution? Does your city have any ordinances about noise? Are you making the noise? Do you want it to stop? Think about what you can do to have more quiet around you.

And please, turn down your music. It really is for your own good.

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