Noise Pollution Effects, Causes & Prevention Tips

Ranjeet KumarReviewed by Mr. Ranjeet Kumar Sr. Audiologist, Speech Therapist & Cochlear Implant Specialist, BASLP on Sep 12th, 2021 written by Editorial Team

One of the very nasty kinds of pollution that not only humans but all the other living things on this planet can’t stand is noise pollution.

Well, believe it or not, we humans are solely responsible for creating ‘man-made environmental noise’ in our beautiful world and we now have to bear the consequences.

Environmental noise pollution can be defined as the excessive and troublesome sound that is hazardous to our health and well-being, including animals that share the planet with us.

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Noise pollution is the presence of such high levels of noise or sound in the environment that are disturbing and annoying to all of us. Also, not to forget the ill-effects that it poses on our environment and health.

As new inventions came along to make our lives much easier, these have also brought the bad effects which we did not pay much attention to.

Following are the major contributors to noise pollution that has posed tremendous threats to not only our environment but our health and the health of future generations as well:

How Noise Pollution Affects Human Life?

Noise is anything which is unbearable to our ears, which also leads to other health conditions such as psychological problems, trauma, depression, irritation, high blood pressure, and even something as fatal as a cardiac arrest (or heart attack) in people.

Following image is showing the levels of noise from different things in decibels(dB) and their effects on us:

The ill-effects of noise pollution on our health are plenty. It is also the major cause of numerous diseases or disorders. The quality of human life thus gets disrupted. The lives of children, adolescents, and adults become miserable due to noise pollution.

Here are the Effects of Noise Pollution on Human Life:

1. Difficulty In Sleeping

Noise pollution often makes many people restless thus, losing their sleep. It causes disruption in the sleeping pattern and also keeps individuals away from a sound sleep and due to the lack of sound sleep in the long term, the immune system also loses its normal functionality.

Exposure to loud noise can certainly hurdle your pattern of sleeping that may lead to irritation and uncomfortable situations.

If you are not having a good night’s sleep regularly than you may lead to problems related to fatigue and your performance may go down on the workplace as well as at home.

2. Stress And Tension

Loud noise can often cause stress in individuals. But, if you are constantly exposed to loud and irritating sounds, you may develop deep stress and tension.

The behavior of individuals, in this case, becomes aggressive and causes physical illnesses like increased blood pressure, cardiac problems, insomnia, etc.

3. Headache

Due to too much noise and sound waves entering through the ears, our brain becomes unstable and, therefore, tends to cause a headache in individuals, which can also sometimes, take the form of a severe headache at a later point in time.

4. Poor Cognitive Function

The ability to learn, read, and understand decreases significantly by regular exposure to loud noise. Problem-solving capabilities and the ability to remember anything also decrease due to frequent noise.

Noise pollution can also increase the ledge of error and can hurdle your productivity at the workplace. According to research, children studying in a noisy environment shows relatively less cognitive function.

For example, the cognitive status of children studying in a school that is near to a highway is less in comparison to those students who are studying in quieter surroundings.

5. Mental Imbalance

A mental imbalance is among the worst and most dangerous negative effects of noise pollution in individuals. People may find it difficult to cope with their daily routine. In such cases, the human mind cannot accept noise which is beyond a certain level. The excess sound may lead to mental imbalance and also disability of the nervous system.

Intense noise pollution in working areas like offices, construction sites, bars, and even in our homes can impact psychological health. According to a study, the incidence of aggressive behavior, disturbance of sleep, constant stress, and hypertension can be linked to excessive noise levels. These might cause more chronic health issues later in life.

6. Blood Pressure

Extreme noise conditions often lead to irregularities in an individual’s blood flow, thus, causing fluctuations in blood pressure, which can be harmful to the individual’s health.

If an individual’s blood pressure is either too low or too high then, the individual will experience various health-related problems, which can be for a short duration or for a longer period of time.

7. Loss Of Hearing

Any noise which is beyond the limits is usually the leading cause for loss of hearing in individuals. Our ears are made to take in a few ranges of natural sounds without getting damaged. Noises from jackhammers, horns, machinery, airplanes, and vehicles are man maid and these all can be too loud for our hearing range.

Continuous exposure to a loud level of noise can result in damage to our eardrum or loss of hearing. It can also decrease our sensitivity to sounds that our ear picks up unwittingly for regulating our body’s rhythm.

8. Cardiovascular Issues

According to research, high severity noise causes high blood pressure and increase heartbeat rate as it breaks the normal blood flow. Due to this, Blood pressure levels, cardiovascular disease, and heart problems are on the rise.

To bring them to a manageable level, we should have an understanding of noise pollution by which we should be able to prevent this.

9. Heart Problems

Most individuals, especially adults might also be diagnosed with heart problems due to the unbearable noise which comes from different sources, such as home appliances and stereo systems, office equipment, factories, industries, vehicles, open-air concerts, and so on.

Noise pollution is, therefore, considered a major threat to all living beings as it can disrupt not only the hearing ability in humans and animals but can bring more health problems that can have greater effects on the overall well-being in individuals of any age group.

10. Concentration And Communication

Noise pollution often creates a barrier among individuals, where they are prevented to concentrate in their work, academic studies, etc., and also suppress voices when individuals try to talk to each other, especially in public places.

High decibel (dB) noise might not allow two people to communicate freely. Static sharp noise can lead to severe headaches and can disturb your emotional balance.

These are the impact of noise pollution on human life. But in our world, there are other living things apart from humans and they are Animals.

Animals are also affected by man-made noise pollution. Even they are getting more harm in comparison to us. Let’s discuss the impact of noise pollution on Wildlife (Animals).

Noise Pollution Effects on Animals

Wildlife (animals) faced more problems than humans due to noise pollution because they are more dependent on sound. Animals have a better sense of hearing than us because their survival depends on it.

Noice can have a harmful effect on the life of the wild animal. It can raise the risk of death by changing the delicate balance in the Detection and Avoidance of Predator or Prey. It also interferes with the use of sound that wild animal uses in relation to Reproduction and Navigation.

For instance, Noise pollution might have caused the death of a few species of whales that beached themselves after loud sound exposure to military sonar.

According to a study, it is shown that whale’s song length is longer than usual when Submarine detectors are on. If they won’t speak loud enough, their voice will be masked by the submarine equipment’s sounds.

When one species starts to speak loudly, their voice masked other specy’s voice, and it caused the whole ecosystem to speak loud. That is how noise effects change or disarrange the whole system.

Some other impact of noise on wildlife:

  • Eager Behavior – Eager behavior in animals is usually observed in the form of shuddering when they are exposed to high decibel levels. For instance, a cow’s capacity for milk production can be decreased by an unbearable noise level because these animals need a calm and relaxed environment for better milk yielding.
  • Reproduction – According to a study, some noises like aircraft induced noise is responsible for a serious decrease in reproduction activity in a broad range of animals. These effects of noise can be seen on chicken in the form of a severe drop in egg production. Scrubby growth in chickens because of noise pollution has also been observed.
  • Extinction – Urban areas birds who used their sharp hearing abilities to hunt prey are at the point of extinction due to the interference of man-made noise. Loud noises also negatively affect breeding and feeding pattern. These loud noises camouflage their sound making this difficult for male birds to collect the attention of female birds. This is one of the reasons that some species have become extinct.

These are the impacts of noise pollution on human life and animal life. Now let’s take a look at the origin of this noise pollution.

Causes Of Noise Pollution

Causes Factors Of Noise Pollution
Causes Factors Of Noise Pollution

There are many forms of man-made noise pollution that have caused a great amount of disturbance in our planet. Let’s take a look at these below:

  • Industries And Factories
  • Construction
  • Agriculture Machinery
  • Roadways
  • Railways
  • Airways
  • Social Events
  • Defense Machinery
  • Home

Let’s discuss all these in detail:

1. Industries And Factories

Because human needs are unlimited, therefore, there are higher demands for materialistic needs and these are made at industries and factories all over the world.

The industries and factories are giant plants that produce almost everything we require. Also, the amount of noise that is created during the manufacturing process is very loud that can make a person partially or permanently deaf.

2. Construction

Construction works also play a significant role in polluting our environment. By a major degree of noise from their heavy machinery, while also causing air pollution at the same time. Activities like mining, construction of bridges, dams, buildings, stations, roads, flyovers, take place probably in every part of the world.

Not only is every part of the world but these activities take place every day because we need more buildings, residential areas, working areas, bridges, to accommodate more people.

3. Agriculture Machinery

Machines that are used in agriculture like Thrashers, tube wells, power saws, tractors, power tillers, and harvester has been responsible for producing a high level of noise while working.

In Punjab state located in India, average noise level ranges from 90 dB to 98 dB have been recorded due to operations of agricultural machinery.

4. Roadways

Vehicles are flooding the highways and streets everywhere and are further causing noise pollution, which often makes people annoyed, thereby, leading to health problems. As a number of vehicles are being deployed on public roads, the chances of noise pollution also increase.

The number of vehicles on the roads is raising becoming overwhelming owing to the automobile revolution in urban settings. Scooters, bikes, cars, buses, and trucks are continuously increasing in number, exacerbating the problem of transport noise.

5. Railways

Railways are also common sources of noise pollution. There are countries that have several trains, including freight trains and public locomotives that are constantly carrying and transporting goods and people from one place to another.

As such, many railway terminals, if crowded with large numbers of people often cause quite a lot of noise and chaos in conjunction with the sounds that are generated from trains.

6. Airways

Helicopters, jets, and Airplanes are also consistently made big sounds over the houses near to busy airports. Noise from airplanes amounts to an intense serious problem in big cities like Mumbai, London, or Chicago. In metropolitan areas, a high level of noise pollution can even deafen elder people.

The higher the planes fly, the lesser is the sound impact on us. However, if the altitude of the planes is low, whether these are commercial planes, business planes, cargo planes, or military jets, then the noise that they produce can become unbearable to the human ear and thus, cause problems like irritation and could also lead to deafness.

7. Social Events

Worship places, parties, gigs, discos like party places are a great deal of noise for the people living in the related area. For example, events of worship produce loud noises from instruments that are used to amplify the voices and sounds from the pulpit.

These loud sounds from such events are mainly termed as “nuisance”. They interfere in normal activities like a conversation, sleeping, and can even upset a person’s quality of life.

8. Defense Machinery

Noise pollution is also added to the environment by military tanks, explosions, shooting practices, military airplane training, and rocket launching.

Some high pitched noises from sonic booms and jet engines can cause a deafening impact on ears as these high pitched noises have some extreme of shattering windows panes and old chronic structures.

9. Home

The outside sources are not the only ones causing noise pollution. Our homes are also in the game. As we like to use different kinds of machinery and gadgets to fulfill our daily needs, we sometimes forget the appliances and gadgets can cause noise pollution and directly or indirectly affect our ears.

Popular household noise pollutant is domestic gadgets like pressure cookers, washing machines, mixer-grinders, desert coolers, sewing machines, and vacuum cleaners.

Above are the reasons for noise pollution. You cannot control them all but here are some prevention tips for you that you can easily apply in your life to protect yourself or your loved ones.

Prevention of Noise Pollution

Some of the best practices to reduce or prevent noise pollution are:

1. Close Windows

One way to reduce the amount of noise entering into our house is by simply closing the windows. It might not block the noise totally but it can help in reducing it.

2. Use Earplugs

It is a cost-effective solution to reduce noise pollution. Wear a pair of earplugs to reduce or block the noise that is hitting your eardrums. Earplugs give benefits especially to those who want to have a healthy and proper sleeping habit in a noisy area. You can also invest in noise-canceling headphones.

3. Improve Insulation

Improving insulation means installing soundproofing materials on the walls, ceiling, and floor. Insulation is an art of soundproofing that helps in blocking the sound vibration and noise.

4. Install A Fence

Create a barrier by installing a fence. This barrier can absorb the strong sound waves/vibrations, reducing noise pollution around your place.

5. Get Sound Friendly Furniture

Some Furniture helps in reducing echo and sound vibrations like sound friendly lounge chairs, bookshelves, couches, and cabinets. These types of furniture can have an effect on the acoustics of open spaces.

6. Keep Low Volume Of Electronics

Gaming systems, computers, hi-fi systems, and television on high volume can be responsible for noise pollution. So turn them off if they are not in use and keep them on low volume just to listened by you clearly.

7. Cancel Or Mask The Noise

It is one of the simplest and practical techniques to reduce noise pollution. It is like the creation of peaceful sounds to cancel the awful ones. There are white noise machines available in the market that can make it easier to cancel or mask any sound.

8. Take Care Of Your Automobiles

Old or damaged vehicles are one of the major sources of noise pollution by creating unappealing and loud sounds. In this case, you can reduce the noise level by regular servicing and tuning of your vehicle. If your vehicle is still making noise then it is time to change your vehicle with a new one.

9. Plant Trees

Trees are effective in reducing noise levels around major highways as well as at the places we stay by absorbing the sounds. A large number of plants and trees in an area means less noise pollution.

These are some of the important precautions we can take to protect ourselves from damaging our hearing ability. But we still do not have total control over the larger segments of sources that create tremendous amounts of noise pollution in our environment.


As for now, there are not many solutions to reduce sound pollution but on a personal level, you can help by reducing the noise ìn your homes by decreasing the volume of the radio, television or music system.

Removing public loudspeakers is another way of reducing noise pollution. Your small step can change a big thing.

You can purchase the latest hearing aids at a fair price through HearingSol, If you need any assistance or you have a query regarding Hearing Loss, feel free to call us at +91-9327901950. We are always here to help you.

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