Noise is a combination of sounds of different frequency and intensity, caused by oscillatory motion of particles in elastic media (solid, liquid, gaseous). The intensity of noise pollution (pressure) is measured in decibels (dB). Noise with intensity of 30-80 dB will not cause harm to the human body.
However, the noise with intensity or 85 dB or higher will lead to physiological and psychological adverse effects on the nervous system, sleep, emotions, and performance. At present, the problem of noise pollution is demanding closer attention because of its increasingly important significance. It is especially so in urban areas.
Noise has always been considered a less dangerous form of pollution comparing to other types of environmental pollution, and people hardly worried about how noise affected their health. However, UK Office for National Statistics shows that the number of complaints about noise has increased by 5 times during the last 20 years.
With the increasing number of vehicles (which are the most common source of noise), the industrialization of cities, increasing transportation mobility of the population, the growth of technical equipment of urban management sector, contacts between the technological environment of the city and the natural environment are expanding. Highways, railways, airports, and river ports actively affect rural landscapes and suburban areas. Among other noise sources, there are also railway stations, large bus stations, motels, and campgrounds, ro-ro parks, industrial facilities, large building industry bases, and power plants. Flawed urban planning, the placement of residual areas near the sources of loud noise, such as airports and highways, can also cause additional noise pollution. Loud-speaking devices, elevators, tv and radio sets, musical instruments, crowds of people and individuals can also be sources of noise. For many large cities, railway stations and city trams are significant noise sources.
Noise negatively affects the cardiovascular and nervous body systems. It disrupts sleep, attention, increases irritability, depression, anxiety, and irritation. It also can affect the respiratory and digestive systems, injure auditory function up to temporary or permanent hearing loss and impaired ability to transfer and perceive the sounds of speech communication. In addition, noise is a great distraction from ordinary activities, which changes human physiological responses to stress signals, has the impact on mental and somatic health and negative influence on employment and productivity level.
College students, who have decided to write their research proposals on noise pollution, have to deeply investigate the existing standards for noise pollution, to understand that they are not sufficiently effective on modern technical, legal, and socio-economic grounds. There is a significant need to move to a more prudent valuation of acoustic pressure and its harmonization with international law.
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