Noise pollution: How It affects health and how we can mitigate its effects may

Noise pollution has become an increasingly significant problem in modern society. It can originate from a variety of sources, such as traffic, industry, and construction work. Unfortunately, this noise pollution has been correlated with a range of harmful health effects, from physical discomfort to more severe psychological problems. However, although we are all exposed to noise in one way or another, there are measures we can take to reduce its effects on our well-being and protect our health.

How does noise pollution affect human health?

The World Health Organization has shown that noise exceeding 75 dB is considered excessive and painful from 120 decibels and has negative effects on human health, both physically and mentally. According to WHO, high exposure to noise can cause a series of physical ailments, such as hearing loss, high blood pressure, sleep disorders, and even cardiovascular problems. Additionally, psychological effects can include stress, depression, irritability, aggression, and lack of concentration. All of this points to the need for greater awareness of this problem since millions of people suffer from its potential dangers.

Noise pollution is mainly caused by industrial activities such as construction work or transportation vehicles like planes and cars. In public spaces such as parks or streets, too much noise impacts the environment we live in, creating discomfort that negatively affects people’s well-being.

Sources of noise pollution

Environmental noise is a significant problem that has become increasingly common in recent years. Besides being an unpleasant nuisance, it can have serious consequences for the auditory canals of both humans and animals. There are many sources of noise, including transportation systems, industrial machinery, and even people and animals.

The main sources of noise are constructions, transportation systems such as trains, buses, boats, cars, and planes. Motor vehicles not only generate audible sounds but also vibrate, which amplifies their sound-producing capabilities. Moreover, the high concentration of traffic in urban areas raises noise levels even more significantly than in rural areas. Industrial equipment is another source of noise pollution, as it often produces powerful sound waves at high frequencies that can persist over long distances.



Solutions to reduce noise pollution

Noise pollution has become a major problem in many metropolitan areas across Spain. It is estimated that thousands of people are exposed to noise levels that exceed safe thresholds, and with increasing urbanization, this number is likely to rise even further. Fortunately, there are some simple steps that can be taken to reduce noise and make our cities more pleasant places to live.

One way to reduce noise from cars and other vehicles is to implement speed limits on roads and highways. Doing so would not only help reduce the amount of noise present in city areas but also improve overall safety conditions for citizens. Additionally, investing in quieter transportation options, such as electric or hybrid cars, can also help significantly reduce noise levels in cities over time.

Furthermore, the installation of barriers such as noise walls around noisy construction sites can greatly reduce their impact on surrounding neighborhoods.

Benefits of reducing noise

Reducing noise can bring a range of benefits to both individuals and society as a whole.

Firstly, reducing noise pollution can improve the health of those regularly exposed to high levels of noise. Studies have found that exposure to loud noises can lead to increased stress levels, difficulty sleeping, decreased productivity, and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. By reducing the amount of noise pollution present in our daily lives, we can help protect people from these negative impacts associated with excessive sound levels.

Additionally, reducing noise pollution can also benefit businesses by improving the academic and work performance of employees.

Governmental and community solutions

The Spanish government, through the Ministry of Transport and Sustainable Mobility, is working to adopt noise mitigation measures in its infrastructures. To this end, multiple public tenders have been launched in recent years to deploy these solutions. It is expected that this policy will remain stable in the coming years due to the need to implement European directives on noise pollution.

For some years now, any new infrastructure construction project incorporates an environmental impact study, possible solutions, and budget allocations to mitigate the noise generated by its operation.



However, the main focus of investments is on updating the acoustic impact of currently operating roads and railways, mainly acoustic screens. There are also projects for installing noise barriers around airports or other noise-generating facilities.

At the regional level, efforts are also being made to invest in updating the acoustic impact of the road and railway networks operated by the autonomous communities. Multiple initiatives are being prioritized by conducting acoustic impact studies that identify the most necessary actions.

If we, as a country, aspire to have infrastructure that operates at an adequate noise level and provide a health and quality of life service to citizens, public investment is required, and there must be a market that incentivizes private companies to invest in innovation to make projects more competitive and sustainable.