Noise Pollution

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Sensory stimulation plays a major role in psychological and psysiological development and is therefore directly related to physical and mental health. Sound is but one form of sensory stimulation. Sound overload, unwanted sound that produces unwanted effects, as well as sound diprivation, can be hazards to health.
Sound overload can produce temporary or permanent hearing loss by affecting the tympanic membrane and by slowly deteriorating the microscopic cells that send sound waves from the ear to the brain. The effects produced on each person`s hearing vary, depending on the sound intensity and pitch, the location of the source in relation to the person, the length of exposure, and the person`s age and history of previous ear problems. Surveys have shown that at least 20 million Americans have measurable hearing deficits and still another 16 million are exposed to occupational noise levels capable of producing permanent hearing loss.
One means of determining the potential hazard of any sound is to measure its loudness. The measurement of sound loudness is stated in decibels. The faintest audible sound is designated 1 decibel; ordinary conversation, measured at 40 to 60 decibles, is considered adequately quiet. Studies have shown that moderately loud sounds of 80 decibels, such as those produced by a clothes washer, tabulating machine, or home garbage-disposal unit, can be discomforting to human ears and can produce temporary or permanent hearing loss. The following are examples of common sound pollutants and their decibel readings :
Vacuum cleaner : 72 decibels
Dishwasher : 76-96 decibels
Minibike : 76 decibels
Heavy city traffic : 90-95 decibels
Food blender in home : 93 decibels
Pneumatic hammer : 95 decibels
Air compressor : 95 decibels
Power lawnmower : 95 decibels
Farm tractor : 98 decibels
Outboard motor : 102 decibels
Jet flying over at 1000 feet : 103 decibels
Riveting gun : 110 decibels
Motorcycle : 115 decibels
Live rock music : 120 decibels
Jet plane at takeoff : 150 decibels
Rocket engine : 180 decibels
Sound louder than 130 decibels, such as that produced by a nearby jet plane, gunshot blast, or a rocket at the launching pad, may cause actual pain. Persons who work regularly with any of the machines listed should realize the potential long-range effects of such noise levels.
References :
Goldsmith, John and Earland Jonnson, “Health Effects of Community Noise”, American Journal of Public Health, 1973.
Jamann, Joann, “ Health Is a Function of Ecology”, American Journal of Nursing, 1971.
Saltonstall, Richard, Your Environment and What You Can Do About It : A Citizen`s Guide. New York : Walker and Company, 1970.
McKee, William, ed., Environmental Problems in Medicine, Springfield, III.: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, 1974.
United States Environmental Protection Agency, Noise Around Our Homes, Washington, D.C, Office of Public Affairs, February, 1977.
Unites States Environmental Protection Agency, What You Should Know about the Pesticide Law. Washington, D.C.: Office of Public Affairs, December, 1976.
Van Sickle, Derek, The Ecological Citizen, New York : Harper & Row, Publishers, 1971.
World Health Organization, Health Hazards of the Human Environment. Geneva : Office of Publications and Translation, World Health Organization, 1972.

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