Stop the public health hazard of recreational noise pollution

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Why the Campaign?

Despite a seeming understanding of the effects of noise exposure from various recreational activities and devices, a large percentage of the general public who is at risk of such noise-induced hearing loss still chooses to refrain from ceasing the practice.

Sound and Noise

Evolution has programmed human beings to be aware of sounds as possible sources of danger. Noise, defined as 'unwanted sound', is a pollutant whose effects on health have been neglected, despite the ability to precisely measure. Noise interferes in complex task performance, modifies social behaviour and causes annoyance. Social noise (eg, caused by open air recreational playing of loud speakers, heard in bars or through personal music players) and environmental noise (eg, noise from road, rail, and air traffic, and industrial construction). These noise exposures have been linked to a range of non-auditory health effects including annoyance, sleep disturbance, cardiovascular disease, and impairment of cognitive performance in children.

Public Health Hazards 

  • Cognitive impairment in children per the WHO estimate is that about 45,000 disability-adjusted life-years are lost every year for children aged 7–19 years because of environmental noise exposure.
  • Behavioural disorders in children are caused due to noise effects on children’s cognition, and include communication difficulties, impaired attention, increased arousal, learned helplessness, frustration, noise annoyance, and consequences of sleep disturbance on performance. 
  • Elderly people, children, shift-workers, and people with a pre-existing (sleep) disorder are thought of as at-risk groups for noise-induced sleep disturbance.
  • Negative Social Behaviour and Annoyance is the most prevalent community response in a population exposed to environmental noise. Noise annoyance can result from noise interfering with daily activities, feelings, thoughts, sleep, or rest, and might be accompanied by negative responses, such as anger, displeasure, exhaustion, and by stress-related symptoms.
  • Cardiovascular Diseases are caused and have been reported in both short-term laboratory studies of human beings and long-term studies of animals have provided biological mechanisms and thus plausibility for the theory that long-term exposure to environmental noise affects the cardiovascular system and causes manifest diseases (including hypertension, ischaemic heart diseases, and stroke).

What do we Gain with this Campaign?

Educational campaigns for children and adults can promote both noise- avoiding and noise-reducing behaviours, including containment of recreational noise pollution, and thus, mitigate negative health consequences. Efforts to reduce noise exposure will eventually be rewarded by lower amounts of annoyance, improved learning environments for children, improved sleep, lower prevalence of cardiovascular disease.

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