Excessive noise pollution in working areas can influence psychological ill health.
By definition, noise pollution takes place when there is either excessive amount of noise or an unpleasant sound that is unnatural in volume or source, that causes temporary disruption in the natural balance of our lives.
- Hearing Problems: Any unwanted sound that our ears have not been built to filter can cause problems within the body. Man made noises such as industrial or construction machinery or aircraft engines are too loud. Constant exposure to loud levels of noise can easily result in the damage of our ear drums and inner ear nerves, and causes loss of hearing and ringing in the ears. It also reduces our sensitivity to sounds that our ears pick up unconsciously to regulate our body’s rhythm. Ultra low frequency sounds cause feelings of fear or awe or presence of something supernatural .
- Health Issues: Excessive noise pollution in working areas can influence psychological ill health. Studies show that the occurrence of aggressive behavior, disturbance of sleep, constant stress, fatigue and hypertension can be linked to excessive noise levels. These in turn can cause more severe and chronic health issues later in life. Obesity , stroke, high blood pressure, children born with birth defects or low birth weight due to hormonal disturbances in mothers caused by noise and contraction of blood vessels all over the body due to noise are some of the more dangerous effects of noise. Cleft lip , cleft palate and spine deformities in newborns are commonly caused by noise pollution. At cellular level the body’s cells do not repair as they should and die off when exposed to loud noise on a regular basis . Immunity to infections falls and diseases increase frequency of headaches, fatigue, stomach ulcers, and vertigo all linked to noise exposure.
- Sleeping Disorders: Poor sleep due to noise disturbance causes irritation and uncomfortable situations. This leads to low productivity, constant tiredness and exhaustion , accidents on road or workplace due to poor concentration , and anger and aggression in social interactions.
- Cardiovascular Issues: Blood pressure levels, cardio-vascular disease and stress related heart problems are on the rise. Studies suggest that high intensity noise causes high blood pressure and increases heart beat rate as it disrupts the normal blood flow, by contracting blood vessels all over the body. Fairly typical roadway noise levels are sufficient to cause this.
- Trouble Communicating: Due to noise disturbance conversations may be misunderstood or poorly understood. Constant sharp noise can give you severe headache and can disturb your emotional balance. In children , this causes speech and reading difficulties, trouble with understanding words, poor school performance, writing difficulties (dysgraphia), and raised heart rates and anxiety.
Treating the side effects of noise pollution is done by doctors and healthcare providers. In case there is hearing loss or heart or blood pressure problems and a noisy environment is causing it, treatment of the medical problem by doctors and taking steps to avoid or reduce the noisy environment is the only course of treatment.
Dr Dillon Dsouza , Consultant ENT and Head and Neck surgeon, attached to Jaslok hospital, Breach Candy hospital and Desas hospital