The truth about noise

Sound without meaningful information is called noise. When noise bothers many people, scientists talk about noise pollution that can irritate us and cause illness. Noise can actually be good too.

Sound without meaningful information is called noise. When noise bothers many people, scientists talk about noise pollution that can irritate us and cause illness. Noise can actually be good too.

“Noise is annoying, but harmless” – False

Unwanted sound is also called noise and can harm our health in many ways. Traffic causes the most noise pollution in Europe.

Noise becomes noise pollution when it is unwanted and spreads dangerously, especially if it causes discomfort to humans and animals.

Noise pollution includes the sound of cars on the road nearby or loud machines that disturb employees at work.

Noise has a harmful effect on health

1. Impaired hearing

Prolonged noise above 75 dB (corresponding to the sound of a vacuum cleaner) causes the sensory hairs in the inner ear to collapse and the hearing is reduced.

2. Decreased thinking capacity

Children who are exposed to a lot of traffic noise show symptoms of stress and reduced learning ability. Adults show signs of age-related brain degeneration earlier in life than otherwise.

More cardiovascular diseases

The European Environment Agency estimates that 48,000 Europeans fall ill with cardiovascular diseases every year as a result of noise pollution.

3. Risk of diabetes

An extensive study conducted in 2015 revealed that if the noise level in the home is measured above 60 dB (speech level), the risk of developing diabetes increases by at least 19 percent.

In 2020, the European Environment Agency published a status report on noise pollution and the dangers it creates. The report found that traffic is the biggest source of noise pollution in all of Europe.

If the information from the institute is anything to go by, a total of 113 million Europeans are exposed to more than 55 dB of noise 24 hours a day from cars, trains or planes, which corresponds to the sound of a dishwasher or a soft conversation.

According to information from the World Health Organization, WHO, negative effects on health manifest themselves mainly as high blood pressure, increased risk of diabetes, as well as cardiovascular diseases.

If the European Environment Agency’s report is anything to go by, 12,000 Europeans die prematurely every year as a result of noise.

Pink noise improves sleep

Pink noise at night, which sounds like a waterfall, can improve sleep quality, as well as long-term memory.

“More noise causes more discomfort” – Not necessarily

Sound is waves similar to the waves in the ocean. Two waves can even stack on top of each other, so that the noise increases.

However, two waves can also suppress each other, with the result that the combined effect will be weaker or absent, like a wave crest and a wave trough meeting.

For the trick, noise can be eliminated with noise cancellation, where the sound waves vibrate against each other.

Many headphone manufacturers offer active noise cancellation. The headphones are equipped with a noise reduction chip that evens out the sound waves and reduces the noise.

This same method is used in headphones equipped with so-called active noise cancellation.

Noise can similarly be beneficial, but by sleeping with so-called pink noise in the ears, older people’s ability to solve memory-related tasks increased by up to 70 percent.

“Noise can do good” – True

Noise is sound and sound contains energy. Scientists have managed to harness this energy, including for measuring equipment.

The sensors are completely independent of cables and battery replacement, but operate entirely on noise that has been converted into electricity.

A very thin material covered with a membrane can capture sound. The research team behind this project hopes that in the future the technology will be able to charge mobile phones while the user is talking.

The lights along the length of the airport’s runways are among the places where researchers hope to apply the sensor technology, because it should naturally be possible to see the most electricity where the noise is the most.

Lights along the runways would then play the role of large microphones, where the sound waves would be converted into electricity with the help of electromagnets.

Related Posts