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What is Noise Pollution and How Does it Affect You?

Apartment building in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.When was the last time you actually listened to your city, neighborhood, work and home surroundings, from engines revving to the dishwasher running? 

Regardless of whether you live in the city or the suburbs, there is a continuous stream of sounds heard every second, making it a challenge to imagine (and nearly impossible to create) a world without sound. 

However, there is a difference between sound and noise, and the latter is causing harmful pollution to people and the environment’s health; you can’t smell it and you can’t taste it, which makes it all the more dangerous. 

Understanding Noise Pollution 101

Sounds are defined as traveling vibrations that are heard when they reach the ear. Whereas noise is defined as loud, unpleasant sounds that cause disturbance. 

“According to the World Health Organization, sound levels less than 70 dB are not damaging to living organisms, regardless of how long or consistent the exposure is. 

Exposure for more than 8 hours to constant noise beyond 85 dB may be hazardous. 

If you work for 8 hours daily in close proximity to a busy road or highway, you are very likely exposed to traffic noise pollution around 85dB.” -Environmental Pollution Centers

Forms of Noise Pollution

Noise pollution has been around for a few decades, dating back to EPAs regulation and court cases in the 1980’s. While the EPA may study noise pollution and its effects, your state and local governments are responsible for managing it.

The following are several common noise pollutants you’re probably very familiar with:

  • Street traffic and public transport, such as trains and busses
  • Construction
  • Airports
  • Workplace 
  • Loud music or music venues
  • Household appliances and cleaning tools i.e. vacuums, washing machines, etc.

Noise Pollution & Its Health Effects on People

The obvious and most common result from noise pollution is Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL); however, there’s evidentiary support that noise pollution results in additional other health problems, including high blood pressure.

According to The New Yorker, “Modern sound-related health threats extend far beyond music, and they affect more than hearing. Studies have shown that people who live or work in loud environments are particularly susceptible to many alarming problems, including:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Low birth weight
  • Physical, cognitive, and emotional issues...from being too distracted to focus on complex tasks, and 
  • Never getting enough sleep.” 

Minimizing Noise Pollution in Your Life

Like any pollutant, there are steps you can take to reduce the amount of noise pollution you’re exposed to, such as wearing earplugs, reducing prolonged use of earbuds, and selecting homes in low traffic residential areas.

Not everyone can afford to live in a low traffic residential area or even to uproot their entire lives to accommodate the effects of noise pollution. 

If this is you, there are steps you can take to help minimize the exposure to you and your family in your home, such as closing the laundry room door during washing cycles or leaving the room when running the dishwasher. 

You may also want to consider updating your home’s insulating installments, such as your windows and doors which can significantly reduce the amount of outside noise pollution from infiltrating your home.

“I love the neighbors late night fiesta music and waking up to the sound of lawn maintenance,” said no one ever.  

Your home is your comfort zone, removing you from the hustle and bustle of the outside world which is why impact windows are growing in popularity in addition to their resistance to heavy winds. 

Impact glass is made of multiple, thick layers which can reduce outside noise infiltration up to 40%. 

Click the button below to see your options and create the perfect window solution for your home design and lifestyle!

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