Curb noise pollution with the help of awareness


By Dr. Santosh S

Line of festivals are around the corner. Noise pollution has turned out to be a major challenge to handle. The use of crackers, beating drums and sound woofers, if not controlled, can pose serious health hazards.
to overcome. Every single day the number of vehicles that ply on the our city roads are multiplying. This is leading to increased levels of noise pollution. It is high time that we make efforts consciously  and avoid vehicular as well as other forms of noise pollution.

Out of the many patients that I see and consult, over 8-10 people in a month suffer from ear related
problems. This figure is rising continuously due to frequent exposure to loud noise and
lack of awareness.

Do you know that a sudden exposure to loud noise due to speakers or drums can cause temporary threshold shift of nerves in people with normal hearing ? Many-a- times, people tend to recover
within 24 to 48 hours. However, sometimes the ear nerves are permanently scarred
leading to acute ear damage. For people suffering from hearing problems, exposure to
sudden loud noise can have devastating impact on overall health. A constant noise of more
than 60-80 decibels can lead to hearing loss.

Do you know that long exposure to loud noise can lead to tinnitus (buzzing sound in the ear). Long exposure to noise can further lead to psychological problems in people. Apart from issues with hearing, insomnia, irregular blood pressure and fluctuating sugar levels can also be a result of exposure to loud
noise. Constant headaches, mood disturbance, anger, irritability is also seen among

Most of the loud speakers and even the woofers that are played, emit sound of more than
100 decibels. This has the potential to lead to hearing troubles. Therefore, people should ensure that
they are not too close to the loud speakers during festive celebrations.

Apart from the loud speaker noise,  even vehicular noise pollution immensely affects the traffic police as they are continually exposed to loud honking. Use of ear plugs can help reduce the high sound
volume by 20 decibels. Also, the use of cotton balls can help to a certain extent.

There is a regulation on controlling the time limit for loud speaker noise, however there is a
lack of authority to monitor the volume in units which is a major problem. If the speakers
are installed near a residential area, it affects the people living in the vicinity as well as
people travelling on the roads.

Government  should take stringent measures to control noise pollution levels. Traffic department should be putting ‘No Honking’ and ‘Reduce Noise’ signboards in specific areas around the city. In regions including hospitals, schools, residential areas etc the boards should be put up. It is important to create
awareness among the people about the side effects of loud volume and excessive honking.
Long exposure to loud sound can lead to noise induced hearing loss in some cases.

The article is written to LifeView by Dr Santhosh, Consultant-ENT, Head and Neck Surgery, Columbia Asia Hospital, Hebbal.


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