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Healthy Living

How to Gag Excess Noise

Unwanted and disliked sound is noise. What is unwanted and disliked is subjective to a certain decibel level. Any thing from a dripping tap to a pile driver could annoy people. Sound from a wrong TV programme or the party next door could qualify as noise, while the interested parties might not consider the sounds as annoying at all.

Excessive meaningless and mechanical sounds, like traffic noises, motors and other machinery are a major annoyance factor today. This increases stress in individuals and has become a health hazard to reckon with.


Audibility

There are two aspects to sound. They are loudness and frequency. Normal conversation takes place at 60-65 decibels. (db). Whispered speech is at 20-30 db. The human ear can hear frequencies from 20 to 20,000 hertz


Effects of too much noise

Auditory fatigue

This happens when we are exposed to noise much higher than normal speech level - at 90 db, especially when frequency is greater than 4000 Hz. There might be whistling or buzzing in the ears.

Deafness

Hearing loss happens if one is continuously exposed to sounds at 100 db. A victim is sometimes unaware of the fact that he is losing his sense of hearing. Temporary hearing loss occurs when exposed to a specific sound. This may be for a period of 24 hours. After this the victim regains his ability to hear.

Non auditory effects

The non-auditory effects are many and affect all of us.

Speech Interference: Noise interferes with speech communication. Noise between 300-500 Hz range interferes with speech communication.

Annoyance: This is a psychological reaction. Some people have a greater tolerance for noise and some have less. Neurotic people are more sensitive to noise.

Efficiency: Where more concentration is required, low level of noise is preferred.

Physiological effects

A number of temporary physiological changes occur due to noise exposure. There is an increase in blood pressure. There is a rise in intercranial pressure. Heart beats faster,. You breathe faster and sweat more. Giddiness, nausea and fatigue may also occur. Noise interferes with sleep. It has also been observed to interfere with vision.

Noise Control

Check at source: In factories noisy machines should be segregated. If possible mufflers and noise reducers must be used. Even at home, when mixers and grinders or music systems are on, if possible keep doors shut, so that noise does not carry to the neighbourhood. Do not patronise the use of loudspeakers at the local temple, marriage pandals, or street corner meetings. Keep your vehicles in well oiled condition

Contain its transmission: Enclosures can be built around sources of noise. Interiors can be covered with soundproofing material.

Protection: If you are working in a noisy shop floor, go for regular audiogram check ups. Ask for rotation of responsibility, if that is possible. Wear ear muffs or ear plugs.

Make less noise.


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