Noise pollution refers to sound levels that are at a much higher level than a human being can comfortably take. This should not exceed 100 dB, as it could otherwise cause a string of health issues, chiefly hearing loss, disruption of sleep and cardiovascular problems, among others. From this, you can understand the crying need for noise pollution solutions that we seek today.
Noise pollution is also known to affect marine life and wildlife animals just as we are affected by it. These days, noise pollution greets us wherever we go–traffic, and at airports, railway stations, construction sites, industrial manufacturing, railroads and concerts. However, the flip side is that there are several practical ways of reducing noise pollution. Here are some leading ways of reducing it:
Solutions to noise pollution:
Here are some practical noise pollution solutions that you can use at your home and workplace:
- Wear earplugs or earmuffs: A cost-effective way of reducing noise pollution is to wear earplugs or earmuffs. You can wear them at bedtime or at any part of the day when your eardrums are hit by unbearably loud noise.
- Shut your windows: Whether you’re affected by loud noise at home or at work, do the most obvious thing by closing your windows and shutting out the sound. It would help to open your windows in the evenings when you’re sure the noise has died down.
- Get yourself noise-cancelling headphones: One effective way of reducing noise pollution considerably is to use sound-cancelling headphones. This is particularly essential if you’re near a construction or industrial site and constantly hear the noise from there. These devices filter out unwanted sounds before they are audible by you.
- Noise-cancelling or masking techniques: Noise-cancelling or masking are easy ways of getting over the problem of noise pollution. This is done by creating peaceful sounds that overpower what you can’t bear to hear. Two easy-to-do examples would be to turn on a fan to drown the outside sounds of noise pollution or hang wind chimes.
- Plant trees: Nature’s way of reducing noise pollution is to grow so many trees that the noise levels reduce. For this method to be effective, you’ll need to grow a thick row of evergreen trees such as eucalyptus, strawberry or wax myrtle whose round-the-year foliage helps reduce noise. Space them carefully to reap the benefit of noise-cancelling. Your trees should be planted really close to each other to fend off all noise. Growing large numbers of trees is the urban way of reducing noise levels, so adopt this method as far as you can.
- Soundproof your home or office: By using good insulation methods, you can soundproof your home or office effectively. For this, you’ll need to soundproof wall materials, and those on your ceiling and floor. Using double-pane windows can also absorb noise.
- Have you thought about having noise-absorbent flooring? Your choice of flooring too can absorb loud noises and contribute to lowering noise pollution. There are materials like cork, laminate, vinyl and floating hardwood that absorb sound; or use cut-pile carpeting rather than loose pile; and heavy draperies like wools and velvets.
- Carpet your rooms from wall-to-wall: Wall-to-wall carpeting is yet another way of reducing noise pollution. Above your carpeting, you can also lay out different textured rugs so that unwanted sounds are cancelled and you add colour to your room.
- Invest in sound-absorbent furniture: Furniture is a great sound absorber as it lowers echoes and sound vibrations. Therefore, if you invest in lounge chairs, book cases, couches and cabinets, it can have a positive impact on the acoustics of bare rooms.
- Use modern acoustic wall panels: These days, you can also use wall panels to help reduce external and internal noise pollution. They come in a variety of colours and fabrics and can be incorporated into your interior design scheme. Spread out the absorption of noise evenly among all your walls and place these panels on the ceiling.
- Arrange your home or office innovatively: Reduce noise levels in your home or office by playing with its layout so that noisy devices or machines can be placed far away from the work or sitting areas, thereby reducing their intensity on your environment.
- Swap old cars for new: Cranking up an old car can cause its own kind of noise pollution. You can get rid of this source of pollution by getting yourself a new car with a newer engine, technology and lesser soot and toxic substance emission.
- Fence your home grounds: If you think this one’s bizarre, think again. Noise is generally produced by strong vibrations or sound waves. These sounds can be cut by barriers like fences. Your fence could well absorb the vibrations from noise pollution and reduce its intensity around your home or office.
- Turn down the volume of games and TVs: Music systems, TVs, game systems and computers contribute largely to the noise pollution we experience. By just toning down their volume, you can have lesser noise pollution around your home and more peace, besides saving on energy.
- Pushing for a “no horn zone” around schools, hospitals and residences: Considering that honking of trucks, cars and buses contribute not just to noise pollution but frustration on the roads, the civic authorities in your area should implement a rule that disallows honking near homes, schools and hospitals.
- Switch your furniture: If you have a large upholstered sofa, move it so that it faces the noise and it will absorb it. Add to it a woolly throw, or a heavy rug and you’ve dealt with the noise.
- Cover your walls: If a bare room can create echoes, you can get rid of them by hanging paintings or blankets on your walls. This will absorb a lot of the noise that neighbours or traffic creates.
By creating an awareness on the ill-effects of noise pollution, you can bring about a revolution in noise pollution solutions. This awareness can bring about lesser noise that animals and humans are forced to bear. This will lead to less mental stress, lower work productivity and hearing loss than what we experience now.