Effects of noise pollution

Generally, problems caused by noise pollution include stress-related illnesses, speech interference, hearing loss, sleep disruption, and lost productivity. Most importantly, there are three main effects we can look at:


The immediate and acute effect of noise pollution on a person over some time is impairment of hearing. Prolonged exposure to impulsive noise to a person will damage their eardrum, and that may result in permanent hearing impairment.

Marine Animals

Marine scientists are concerned about excessive noise used by oil drills, submarines, and other vessels on and inside the ocean. Many marine animals, especially whales, use hearing to find food, communicate, defend and survive in the oceans. Excessive noises are causing a lot of injuries and deaths to whales. For example, the effect of a navy submarine’s sonar can be felt 300 miles away from the source. That can bother wildlife in that area.

(SONAR is the use of sound by submarines and other fishing vessels to deterring the depth of water, the closeness of an object, or detect movement of other objects in the water)

Many of these beached whales have suffered physical trauma, including bleeding around the brain, ears, and other tissues and large bubbles in their organs. There is no question that sonar injures and kills whales and dolphins.

– Joel Reynolds, NRDC senior attorney (http://www.nrdc.org/wildlife/marine/sonar.asp)

This is not only about whales, but the larger marine life are all affected in one way or the other.

Effects on general health

Health effects of noise include anxiety and stress reaction, and in some extreme cases, fright. The physiological manifestations are headaches, irritability and nervousness, feeling of fatigue, and decreases work efficiency. For example, being pounded by the siren of firefighters, police, or ambulance in your city all night every day leaves people (especially the elderly) stressed and tired in the morning.

It is worth noting that these effects may not sound troubling, but the truth is, with time, the consequences can be very worrying.

Did you know?
Lethal Sounds. The use of military sonar poses a deadly threat to whales and other marine mammals. nrdc.org/wildlife/marine/sonar.asp