When we talk about pollution, the first thing that comes to mind is large areas of landfills, dirty water, deforestation, and climate change. However, there is a type of pollution that is no less harmful to the environment and to the human being but which is much more complicated to measure and quantify: noise pollution.
The acoustic contamination is the one that occurs in a given medium as a consequence of excessive noise. It is one of the most important problems in places with high population levels or in spaces where there are very noisy infrastructures, such as airports and industries.
Despite being a type of pollution that is localized in specific places and not expanded through natural systems, as in the case of air pollution and contaminated water, carries a great impact on living things that they suffer. Especially in the case of human beings because we inhabit the spaces in which this type of pollution is concentrated to a greater degree. In fact, if noise pollution is prolonged over time, it can lead to a serious deterioration of health.
Effect of Noise Pollution
Among its most important effects on health are the following:
- Physical effects: physiopathological reactions are those that physically affect the body in its functions and between them, when the noise produces more than 60 decibels, the most frequent are: acceleration of respiration and pulse, increase in blood pressure, decrease digestive peristalsis, which causes gastritis or colitis, neuromuscular problems that cause pain and lack of coordination, decreased night vision, increased fatigue and difficulty sleeping, among others.
It has been proven that children subjected to constant and strong noise have higher levels of blood pressure than those who are not and that this state usually continues with maturity, allowing a higher rate of cardiovascular diseases. Numerous studies conclude that a constant noise above 55 decibels produces changes in the hormonal and immune system that entail vascular and nervous changes, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, worsening of peripheral circulation, increased glucose, cholesterol and lipid levels. In addition, it affects sleep-producing insomnia, which will lead to general fatigue that will diminish the defenses and make possible the appearance of infectious diseases.
- Psychological effects: among these, we would mention stress, insomnia, irritability, depressive symptoms, lack of concentration, minor performance at work, etc. Among those who suffer much the consequences are schoolchildren whose lack of concentration, even in their own homes, makes them have a lower school performance.
- Hearing loss: The hearing loss is the most widespread result regarding excessive noise pollution. In part it is a consequence and an adaptation to excessive noise. To avoid the physical damage or the psychological discomfort produced by constant noise, the organism gets used to it at the cost of losing hearing. But, as a result, when you do not adopt adequate protection, you can develop a permanent loss of hearing. There are workers who have more risk of losing hearing as a result of being exposed to very loud noise.
It is demonstrated that noises greater than 90 decibels experienced in a habitual way for a long time produce the loss of hearing. Minor but continuous sounds can damage the health of the ear. A long exposure to sounds with an intensity greater than 90 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss. Likewise, a continuous exposure to sounds of more than 80 decibels can produce the same results. They can also produce hearing loss exhibitions of more than a quarter of an hour at 100 decibels and more than 1 minute at 110 decibels.
- Social effects: problems in communication, isolation. Faced with the inability to communicate properly, the body tends more and more to avoid communication.
In addition, it also entails high economic costs derived from its effects on people and the environment. In this sense, people who constantly bear the noise pollution end up being less productive in their jobs and have a higher probability of suffering accidents at work. In the case of children, it can affect their correct intellectual and cognitive development, as well as being a cause of school failure. On the other hand, in the case of the environment, noise pollution leads to the loss of the value of nearby properties and creates unpleasant cities where it is difficult to live.